A 26-year-old Surrey man has been sentenced to five and one-half years in jail and a 10-year driving ban for swerving a stolen Ford F350 truck into oncoming traffic on Highway 10 near 192 Street, causing a horrific six-vehicle crash that left at least two victims with life-altering scars and injuries in 2009.
Jason Brewer had pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm in New Westminster Supreme Court.
On June 13, Judge Selwyn Romilly sentenced Brewer to four and one-half years for the crash, and one year for causing a police pursuit on Dec. 31, 2012 in Langley.
With credit for time already served, he will be out in two and one-half years.
He is also facing murder charges in the shooting death of a man in a Willoughby basement suite on Dec. 31, 2012. His trial for that is set for March 2015.
At the time of the police pursuit he pleaded guilty to, he was prohibited from driving, on probation, and using a vehicle he wasn’t authorized to use.
Crown had asked for four to five years for the crash. His defence lawyer was asking for three.
The court learned that in November, 2009, Brewer had started a new job as a day labourer with a landscaping business. On Nov. 14, the landscaping company owner loaned the company Ford F350 truck to Brewer to get dinner for the crew.
He never did. He admits to getting high all that night.
The next day, at 3:19 p.m., Brewer, high on crack and pot, drove the stolen truck eastbound on Highway 10, west of 192 Street, driving at what he said was 140 km/h, when he swerved hard into oncoming traffic, hitting six vehicles with 13 occupants.
The injuries the crash caused left at least four people with lifelong problems.
First he hit a Nissan Pathfinder, striking the driver’s side door. He then collided head-on with a GMC Jimmy. Inside the vehicle was a man and woman. The vehicle was so damaged, the Jaws of Life were used to get the pair out. Their injuries were life-threatening.
The Ford F350 then became airborne, barrel rolling over three more vehicles before striking a lamp standard, causing live wires to come crashing down.
Brewer sustained no injuries in the crash.
He told at least two doctors that he tried to commit suicide that day. At one point, he had pleaded guilty to the crimes but then withdrew his pleas based on the fact that he now denied he was trying to kill himself.
An appeals court judge allowed him to withdraw his pleas. In his trial, he ended up pleading guilty.
The couple who were in the Jimmy wrote victim impact statements expressing a life of misery and pain since the crash.
The man, who is now 41, said “at the age of 36, everything I have strived for changed very violently and painfully.”
He is in daily physical pain, had to learn how to walk again, but still can barely do so. He has massive scars, more surgeries ahead and debilitating headaches. He hasn’t been able to cope financially.
“This is a life I NEVER [sic] wanted to live because of a choice made by the accused.”
His girlfriend spent six months in hospital, followed by two months living in a homeless shelter.
She suffers from nightmares and increased physical pain.
She suffered burns to much of her body from the engine block, suffered a lacerated liver and many broken bones. The pain was so excruciating she wished for death.
The others injured in the crash suffered muscle injuries and anxiety and continue to be in pain.
Brewer began drinking from his parent’s alcohol at 12, used cocaine every day since age 17, and later started using crystal meth.
A psychological assessment of Brewer found that he may suffer from being bipolar, has abandonment issues impulse and addiction issues and when he acts out, it is violent.