Calgary man granted parole in case of 2012 drunk driving crash

by Erika Tucker

An Alberta man has been granted full parole in a drunk driving case that resulted in the death of 17 yr old Brandon Thomas.

Last year, 24 yr old Ryan Gibson had pleaded guilty to impaired driving following the December 2012 crash. Police said at the time Thomas's vehicle collided with a pickup truck driving the wrong way down Highway 22 near Cochrane. Gibson's blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit.

Thomas's mother was in court Wednesday, and said she has "lost a lot of hope" after the decision to grant Gibson parole.

"He's walking out the door today," said Kim Thomas, crying. "They find that he's not a risk to society. He said his friends held a lot of responsibility for his choice that night. They should have stopped him. He said he figured that the 2.8 year sentence he got was a fit sentence for what he did."

She said she felt re-victimized by the court system, and pushed for mandatory minimum sentences in such cases.

"If we had minimum mandatory sentencing, they would spend that whole sentence in prison. Maybe there would be a consequence and an interruption to their life.

"What Mr. Gibson has done to Brandon is forever. What he's done to us is forever. And what he's done for him is done now."

In April 2014, crown and defence asked for a 2 year sentence. However, the judge rejected the plea bargain in May 2014, saying it was unfit for the severity of the crime.

Gibson had been sentenced to two years and eight months behind bars. He served almost six months before he was granted day parole, which allowed him to take day trips away from the jail or spend time in the community.

© 2015 Shaw Media