Speeding drunk driver who crashed through Edmonton home 'like a missile' pleads guilty

by Keith Gerein

An Edmonton motorist who crashed like "a missile" through the home of a sleeping family had three times the legal limit of alcohol in his system as he drove away from police at speeds of reaching 167 kilometres per hour, court heard Monday.

Craig Daniel Head, 29, pleaded guilty to impaired driving and failing to stop for police in the May 11, 2015, incident, which caused catastrophic damage to the north side home but miraculously avoided injury to any of the seven people inside.

"It is one of those unexplainable mysteries of life how no one was injured," Crown lawyer Terry Hofmann said.

According to an agreed statement of facts, another motorist noticed Head speeding and driving erratically in a black Jeep Patriot around 2:20 a.m. in the area of Manning Drive and 144th Avenue.

The motorist called police.

A police cruiser arrived a short time later, prompting Head to pull into a nearby parking lot. The officer parked behind him, but then had to quickly move his cruiser out of the way when Head began backing up. Head then turned the SUV around and left the parking lot, giving a wave to the officer.

Head sped away and turned off his headlights. About 30 seconds later, he came to a T intersection at 46th Street and 154th Avenue. The Patriot went through the stop sign, struck the curb on the other side and went up the grass berm of a residential property.

Hofmann said the vehicle was "essentially airborne" at this point as it smashed through a two metre high fence, landed on an outdoor deck, and bashed through the home's kitchen and bathroom before it came to rest in the front garage.

Hofmann said the impact to the fence was so powerful that a large wooden post was launched into one of the upstairs bedrooms, where it smashed a window and hit the roof before dropping down beside a sleeping six year old child.

Head received only minor injuries from the collision. Data taken from the SUV found its speed topped out at 167.9 kilometres per hour two seconds prior to the collision.

Head, who wears glasses and a bowl haircut, kept his face down as the statement of facts was discussed. He then choked up as he read an emotional apology to the family whose home he struck, none of whom were in attendance.

"That night I made one of the hugest mistakes of my life, one I can't take back," he said. "I took your home away. It was a selfish and horrible act."

Head's lawyer, D'Arcy Depoe, said his client suffers from alcoholism, but has taken steps to beat it.

"It's 45 seconds of his life he wishes he had back," Depoe said.

Depoe is asking for between nine and 12 months of jail time, while the Crown is seeking two years.

Provincial court Judge Michael Allen is set to make his decision on sentencing Nov. 9.