Motorist, drunk and speeding wrong way down road, gets five years for killing Edmonton driver

by Tony Blais

An Edmonton drunk driver who killed a man and badly injured the man's wife while speeding in the wrong direction on a one way street was put behind bars Tuesday.

Tyhler Keith, 23, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty in Edmonton provincial court to impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm for a Nov. 1, 2013, collision on 109th Street at 83rd Avenue that took the life of Brennan Bagdan, 40.

Judge Susan Richardson, who also handed Keith a five year driving ban, called it a very "grave" crime and said no sentence could adequately address the consequences.

"This is a sad day for everyone," said Richardson. "There are no winners here."

Outside court, the victim's mother, Donna Bagdan, said she was "impressed" and "pleased" with the sentence.

Richardson said it was aggravating that Keith was going more than 100 km/h in a 50-km/h-zone, he was driving the wrong way on a one way street in a busy residential area, his blood alcohol level was .215 and he had a bad driving record with multiple fines for speeding convictions.

The judge also noted he was aware of the dangers of drunk driving due to the fact he had an over the counter breathalyzer in his SUV as well as a Blowfish, a product that lessens the effects of heavy drinking.

Richardson said Keith's guilty plea was mitigating, as was his "sincere remorse," his youth and his family support.

Court has heard Keith was speeding west along 83rd Avenue and he failed to stop at the stop sign at 109th Street, crossed three lanes of traffic and smashed into Bagdan's car.

According to agreed facts, the force of the 12:27 a.m. collision crushed the driver's side of Bagdan's Volkswagen GTI and pushed it across a full traffic lane and into a Safeway parking lot on the west side of 109th Street.

Bagdan was declared dead at the scene and his wife, Tracy Ann White, 36, suffered severe injuries, including a broken collarbone and a broken rib.

The devastated painter and hair stylist also suffered a broken heart from the loss of her husband of 1 1/2 years.

"Two years ago, my life was stolen from me," White said while tearfully reading aloud her victim impact statement at a Jan. 8 sentencing hearing.

"We were both robbed of the life we planned to spend together," she said, adding Bagdan was an "amazing" husband and she thinks about him every day. "I truly feel like I have lost everything."

At one point, she stared at Keith with overt disdain after noting the horrible tragedy had given her an education in grief, loss and irresponsibility. Bagdan's mother and brother also expressed anger over Keith's actions.

Keith apologized to both White and Bagdan's family while reading a prepared statement in which he called what he did "extremely callow and uncalled for."