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A young Kelowna father who killed a child while driving impaired has been sentenced to
18 months in jail.
Cody Wengenmayr was 20 when his vehicle struck and killed 6-year-old Trey Alphonse,
who was holding his mother’s hand and dragging a scooter as they jaywalked
across Harvey Avenue around 10:15 p.m. on Aug. 30, 2010.
At the time, his blood alcohol level was between 114 and 138 miligrams per 100 millilitres
of blood and he was driving five kilometers per hour over the speed limit.
On Friday afternoon, Justice Gregory Bowden ruled the actions that led to Trey’s death
warranted an 18 month sentence, while the bodily harm he caused to the boy’s
mother, Iris, led to a 12 month sentence, to be served concurrently.
Approximately a dozen family and friends of Wengenmayr were on hand for the decision, many
wiping tears from their eyes as they heard how long Wengenmayr would be sent to jail.
Defence had asked for 90 days jail, to be served intermittently, followed by probation.
The Crown had argued for a three to four year jail sentence.
In coming to his decision, Bowden ruled that the case law indicated a sentence of less than two years was warranted in a case where the “moral blameworthiness” is short-lived.
He also highlighted the high profile case of Carol Berner, who killed a four-year-old girl in Delta in an impaired driving crash, and noted that Wengenmayr’s level of “moral culpability” was less that of Berner. She was sentenced to two and a half years in jail.
Bowden also factored in Wengenmayr’s level of impairment, the lack of erratic driving before the crash, his age and his lack of criminal record in coming to his sentencing decision.
However, an aggravating factor was that Wengenmayr had been pulled over and blew a “warn” in a roadside screening device some 40 days before the crash that took Trey Alphonse’s life.
“It should have been a significant wakeup call to Mr. Wengenmayr,” said Bowden.
Bowden also hopes the sentence will send a message to other young people who may consider drinking and getting behind the wheel.
If they are involved in a crash like Wengenmayr and convicted, “a jail sentence will follow,” he said.
Bowden did not have a victim impact statement from the Alphonse family to consider he crafted the sentence, but said that “the loss of a child…would be devastating.”
Compounding this tragedy, he later said, is that Wengenmayr’s young daughter will now be separated from her father because of his incarceration.
However, it is likely Wengenmayr will be released on parole prior to the conclusion of the 18 month sentence, as he is a first time offender.
In addition to the jail time, Wengenmayr, who has not driven since the crash, faces a two year driving ban and two years of probation.
Conditions of his probation include not consuming drugs or alcohol and not entering any liquor-primary business, taking counselling and completing 50 hours of community service.