The scene of a fatal crash on Oct. 23, 2009 on the Trans-Canada Highway in which an 18-month-old girl died and two other people were taken to hospital - Image credit: Observer file photo

Driver who killed daughter faces more charges

Tappen man arrested for allegedly fleeing police, driving impaired and ignoring driving prohibition

A Tappen man who was convicted of an impaired driving charge in 2011 that resulted in his young daughter’s death is facing more criminal charges.

The charges against 34-year-old Conan Lee Taylor arose from an incident last week in Nelson. On March 4, according to a police news release, the West Kootenay traffic unit was targeting drivers using cell phones.

An officer directed the driver to stop and asked for his licence, when he took off.

“The police officer became entangled in the vehicle, was dragged a short distance before being thrown to the ground,” states the news release. “That police officer sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was later treated at Kootenay Lake Hospital. Police officers had obtained the licence plate and attended the male’s residence where he fled from police in his vehicle again.”

Due to the risk to the public, the police did not pursue, but reported seeing him driving dangerously through a residential area. He was then spotted a short time later parking his vehicle at a Nelson mall.

“Another police officer was able to successfully block his vehicle, preventing him from continuing to drive. When the police officer tried to arrest him, the male was combative, resisting attempts to take him into custody,” continues the news release. “After a brief struggle during which the second police officer was injured, the male was taken into custody. He was found to be over the criminal limit for blood alcohol and under a 10-year driving prohibition related to an impaired driving fatality.”

That impaired driving fatality took place in October 2009, when Taylor was driving westbound on the Trans-Canada Highway near the Tappen Esso. He claimed to have turned around to give his daughter, Sophia Mary Taylor, a bottle just before his car crossed the centre line. His vehicle slammed into a vehicle being driven by a 44-year-old Sorrento woman.

His daughter died at the scene. The court heard that at the time of the collision, which took place at 7 a.m., Taylor’s estimated blood alcohol level was between 199 and 213 mg. The levels were approximately two-and-a-half times above the legal limit.

An empty 1.5 litre bottle of red wine was found in his damaged car.

Taylor also pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing bodily harm for the serious injuries inflicted on the Sorrento woman.

At that time the court heard how Taylor had been driving his daughter around through the night because she was teething, and had stopped a few times at residences of friends between 2:30 and 5 a.m. where he had been observed drinking red wine and smoking marijuana.

About 18 months after the fatality, Taylor was convicted of failing to stop for police, when, in June 2011, officers spotted him driving a vehicle. A high-speed pursuit took place, which was called off for safety reasons. Taylor was arrested five days later at the Salmon Arm Courthouse where he was scheduled to appear.

He was sentenced in October 2011 on the 2009 charge of impaired driving causing death. He received three-and-a-half years in jail, in addition to four-and-a-half months he had already spent in custody. He was also given a 10-year driving prohibition.

For the 2011 failure to stop for police, he was given six months in jail, which he served at the same time as the first charge.

His fate is now in the hands of the courts in Nelson.

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