Describing himself as “stupid, irresponsible and extremely selfish,” a teary Ali Alejandro Montoya asked for forgiveness Wednesday for taking two lives in a horrific crash.

And the sister of one of Montoya’s victims said she’s ready to forgive Montoya for his tragic crime.

“I’m too young to not forgive people and just live my life in anger,” said Caitlin Lavallee, whose sister Jillian was one of two people killed when Montoya ran a red light at double the speed limit, crashing into a city taxi.

The May 2, 2015, collision killed both Jillian Lavallee, 25, and the driver whose cab she had hailed because she’d been drinking herself, Amritpal Kharbanda, 46.

“It will forever hurt and the hole will be forever in my heart,” Caitlin Lavallee said, following a lengthy sentencing hearing, in which court heard nearly two dozen heart-wrenching victim impact statements from family and friends of the two deceased.

“But I’m 28 years old and don’t have time to sit in anger and frustration.”

She commended Montoya for standing up and said she hopes he was sincere.

At the conclusion of submissions by Crown prosecutor Kevin Doyle and defence lawyer Alain Hepner, the confessed offender addressed court.

“I know it is difficult for you to even look at me after the pain I have caused you, but I stand here today to offer my sincerest apology for the adversity that I have put your families through,” Montoya said, as he faced a packed courtroom gallery.

“I know that it will be difficult for you to find forgiveness in your heart, but for me what matters the most is to let you know about this deep remorse and guilt I feel inside.” Montoya, 21, said he’d swap his life for those of his victims if he could.

“I was young, stupid, irresponsible and extremely selfish when I decided to step behind the wheel that night,” he said.

Montoya earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal negligence causing death in connection with the deadly crash.

He had more than the legal amount of alcohol in his system and was driving recklessly when he ran a red light at Macleod Tr. and 12 Ave. S.E., striking one car before hitting Kharbanda’s taxi.

The driver died at the scene and Jillian Lavallee was taken off life support at Foothills Medical Centre 12 hours later after her parents, Dan and Brenda, rushed home from Montana.

Both Doyle and Hepner suggested Chief Justice Neil Wittmann should hand Montoya a 4 1/2-year sentence and prohibit him from driving for five years after his release.

Dan Lavallee said he understands the rationale behind the figure, but wishes Parliament would pass legislation so future offenders are punished more harshly.

“It’s our hope that our parliamentarians would consider supporting some of the private members bills that are out there right now that are trying to prevent this type of tragedy,” he said outside court.

“Because we’ll never get our daughter back, but if we can somehow — if our laws can make life more meaningful for others or prevent other tragedies then that’s what we would hope.”

Wittmann will make his sentencing decision on Nov. 25.

Montoya remains free on bail until that time.

Source: Calgary Sun


Last updated on: 2016-12-19 | Link to this post