'It's unreal': Drunk driver granted full parole after crash that killed two
NEW HAMBURG -- A 36-year-old man was granted full parole Tuesday after spending time behind bars for being drunk behind the wheel in a crash that killed two men and seriously injured two others.
For the family of one of the victims, the parole board's decision was devastating, saying the penalty is too small to deter drinking driving.
“You kill a couple of people and you’re out in two-and-a-half years, it’s unreal,” said Dave Andrews, the father of one of the victims.
Andrews last saw his son Cody nearly five years ago, only days before he was killed in the crash.
“He had so much life ahead of him, he was only 23-years-old,” said Andrews.
Scott Altiman pleaded guilty to eight charges in 2017, including impaired driving causing death and criminal negligence causing death. He was behind the wheel in 2016 when his Dodge Charger crashed into a car and sent it flying.
Cody Andrews, 23, of New Hamburg and 46-year-old Jerry Pitre of London were killed in the crash.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Altiman had more than twice the legal alcohol limit in his system and was driving up to 187 kilometres per hour.
“Scott was sentenced to ten years and he was behind bars for two of them, that’s pathetic,” said Mike Oswald-Lamarre, Cody’s friend.
“I mean you’re not deterring people from drinking and driving, that’s a year for every fatality,” he added.
The president of the MADD Waterloo Region chapter said the decision is not sending the message home that there are consequences for drinking and driving.
“You hear a really strong sentence out of the gate, initially it was a ten year, then on appeal, it went down to a seven-year, then day parole came in a short time after that, and now full parole as of today,” said Steve Bowden, MADD Waterloo Region President. “We are talking about a crime that happened less than five years ago.”
During the parole board hearing, Altiman was also questioned about a 2004 crash he was involved in.
A police summary of the incident said all occupants of the vehicle were intoxicated, no charges were laid, and it was unclear who was driving.
“He did have a prior incident that wasn’t there for his sentencing,” said Andrews.
When asked if he had anything to say before the parole board decision was read, Altiman replied: “I’m very, very, very sorry to those I hurt in ways that they should never have to hurt. I’m very sorry for that.”
The 36-year-old has several parole conditions, including not consuming alcohol, an eight-year driving ban and he must seek treatment for substance use.