Alberta man pleads guilty in fatal crash

Supreme Court Justice Patrice Abrioux will sentence an Alberta man Wednesday for the death of Williams Lake's Kyle Vigeant.

Supreme Court Justice Patrice Abrioux will sentence an Alberta man Wednesday for the death of Williams Lake’s Kyle Vigeant and the serious injury of Joseph Morey.

Kurtis James Roby, 23, of Grande Prairie, pleaded guilty in Williams Lake Supreme Court Monday two years after a vehicle he was driving on Chimney Lake Road June 24, 2013, crashed and left Vigeant  dead and another Williams Lake man, Morey, paralyzed from the waist down.

Roby entered guilty pleas to three charges including dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and failing to stop at the scene of an accident. He was originally also charged with theft over $5,000 and possession of stolen property over $5,000.

On Monday, Justice Abrioux heard a recount of events from Crown Counsel Sabena Thompson following Roby’s guilty plea.

Thompson said Roby visited Williams Lake in the spring of 2013 when on June 23, 2013, he and two friends picked up Vigeant and Morey in what was later discovered to be a stolen Dodge Ram pickup truck, purchased alcohol, then travelled to a campsite at Chimney Lake before deciding to return to Williams Lake at around midnight.

As the five men travelled back to town, Thompson said Roby was driving up to speeds of 164 kilometres per hour when he lost control and crashed down a 20-foot embankment and rolled several times near Brunson Lake.

Witnesses nearby heard the collision and called out to the victims before Roby and one of the other passengers in the vehicle fled the scene by stealing a white Toyota pickup from a nearby residence.

Another passenger of the truck stayed with Morey, who was 21 at the time, to tend to his injuries. Vigeant, also 21 at the time, was found deceased some time later roughly 50 metres away from the scene with the help of a police dog.

Roby, meanwhile, continued back to Williams Lake where they were arrested near the Tourism Discovery Centre after again fleeing from police. Roby was apprehended hiding in the shed of a nearby mobile home with the assistance of a police dog and, initially, lied to police about his name.

Thompson said RCMP did not detect any signs of impairment on Roby at that point.

Roby has been in custody since the incident took place.

On Monday during Roby’s guilty plea and sentencing hearing, defence lawyer Geneviéve Eliany proposed a sentence of time served, while Thompson argued for a five-year sentence.

“This [fleeing the scene] was not a decision that resulted in personal panic,” Thompson said. “It was calculated to escape criminal and civil liability.”

In presenting her case for time served, Eliany said Roby, who has a past criminal record, has matured drastically in the last two years.

“No sentence, ultimately, will feel just to the families,” Eliany said. “Unfortunately, the criminal justice system is ill-suited to representing these types of cases. The fact he [Roby] didn’t appear intoxicated, perhaps his consumption of alcohol wasn’t as high as we may think.”

In the eyes of the court, Roby has served the equivalent of three years and 70 days in custody.

On Monday, Roby spoke to Vigeant and Morey’s families during the sentencing hearing.

“I don’t want your forgiveness, I just want you to know I’m sorry,” he said. “It was a terrible mistake and it shouldn’t have happened.”

Since the crash, the court heard that Morey continues to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and is confined to his bed as a paraplegic, requiring regular medevacs to Vancouver for treatment.

Vigeant, meanwhile, was described by Thompson as someone who would always go out of his way for the underdog.

“Kyle was very energetic and loved sports,” she said, noting Vigeant played hockey, refereed hockey and played rep soccer while in high school. “He loved mentoring younger people and loved to referee.”

She said Vigeant had indicated at one point he wanted to pursue a career in sports medicine, however, had been working at a local gas station when the incident occurred.

“He loved the outdoors,” she said. “He enjoyed camping, fishing and hunting. His other passion was a Mustang he was rebuilding.”

Kyle’s father, Cyril Vigeant, also read his emotional victim impact statement to Justice Abrioux.

“The loss of my son Kyle was the most tragic event I’ve experienced in my life,” Cyril said. “Not a day passes that I’ve not felt pain in my heart.

“That branch of my family tree will not grow anymore. All I have now are memories we shared together and I’m aware there will be no more to be made.”

Justice Abrioux will make his sentencing decision at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning, Aug. 26, in Williams Lake Supreme Court.


Just Posted

Shearwater is located in the Great Bear Rainforest on the West Coast of B.C. (Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association photo)
Heiltsuk Nation buys historic Shearwater Resort and Marina

Chief Marilyn Slett said Heiltsuk Nation has always valued its relationship with the company

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Const. Dan Cohen is a member of the Williams Lake RCMP detachment. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Our Hometown: Serving the community

“Williams Lake is a good community to be involved with,” says RCMP Const. Dan Cohen

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
BREAKING: Trudeau didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, watchdog says

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that former finance minister Bill Morneau did violate the rules

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. money laundering inquiry could have lessons for other provinces: lawyer

4 reports concluded the flow of hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal cash linked to organized crime and the drug trade impacted the province’s real estate, luxury vehicle and gaming sectors

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Tinder, an online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other’s profiles. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. man granted paternity test to see if Tinder match-up led to a ‘beautiful baby’

The plaintiff is seeking contact with the married woman’s infant who he believes is his child

Nurse Tami Arnold prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine. (Kareem Elgazzar/AP)
B.C. adults 30+ now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Health officials made the announcement Wednesday afternoon

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness walks beside an enormous western red cedar stump in a BCTS-issued cutblock in the Nahmint Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TJ WATT)
Watchdog: logging practices put Vancouver Island old growth, biodiversity at risk

Forest Practices Board has issues with BC Timber Sales practices in Nahmint Valley near Port Alberni

Erik Christian Oun, who worked for the Coquitlam school district, has had his teaching licence suspended for half a year. (Pixabay)
B.C. teacher suspended after calling students ‘cutie’ and ‘sweetheart’ in online messages

Erik Oun’s licence has been suspended for half a year, a decision made by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

Most Read