Paige Whitelaw during her time in Kelowna. (Photo submitted)

Driver sentenced to three years in 2016 deaths of Whitelaw and friend

Court heard Travis Fox was travelling at a high rate of speed with a blood alcohol level of .151

The man who was behind the wheel in a motor vehicle accident in 2016 that claimed the lives of Saltair’s Paige Whitelaw and friend Carlee DeBoer on Highway 6 near Vernon will spend the next three years in jail.

Travis Fox, 22, from Enderby, was sentenced by Judge Mayland McKimm Friday in Vernon Provincial Court.

“This devastating accident has shattered two families’ lives forever and changed the lives of two other families,” Paige’s parents Nadine and Ernie Whitelaw and family said in a statement.

“Two beautiful girls just finishing their last two months of college, whom had a wonderful future ahead are gone, two brothers and the driver now have to live the rest of their life with this terrible memory of that fatal night of losing a longtime friend Carlee and new friend Paige.

“We had never met the accused Travis Fox, but heard he is a responsible young man and this was out of his character. He made a terrible decision that night by saying he was OK to drive and taking the keys from his friend.”

Fox pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving causing death, two counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. Six other counts against him were stayed by Crown counsel.

“I’m here today to take responsibility for my actions,” said Fox when given an opportunity to address the court by McKimm at his sentencing hearing.

“I know there is nothing I can say or do that will fix what has happened. I’m very sorry to the families of Carlee and Paige. I wish I could bring them back or trade places with them. I wish this day would have come sooner to give Carlee and Paige’s families closure.”

Whitelaw, DeBoer and two other passengers were in a white pick-up driven by Fox on March 6, 2016. Fox failed to negotiate a curve and the truck went off the highway and flipped in a ditch.

The five friends had been at a Vernon nightclub when Fox took the keys to a friend’s pickup and was heading to his mom’s house about 10 minutes away. Court heard the vehicle was travelling more than 141 kilometres per hour in a 60 km/h speed zone and Fox’s blood-alcohol reading taken an hour after the crash was .151.

McKimm sentenced Fox to three years in a federal penitentiary for each of the impaired driving causing death charges; 18 months each for the dangerous driving causing death charges, and 12 months for the impaired driving causing bodily harm counts. All charges are to be served concurrently, meaning Fox will spend three years in jail.

He was also given a 12-month driving prohibition upon completion of his sentence.

“This offence cries out for a sentence that makes a strong statement of general deterrence,” said McKimm, agreeing with defence’s submission, taking into account that Fox pleaded guilty at the earliest possible time, had no prior criminal record, and had only one prior driving infraction, a speeding ticket.

But McKimm also noted the seriousness of Fox’s blood-alcohol level and travelling at more than twice the posted legal speed limit.

“In my view, the fact that there were two victims, the fact the accused was speeding excessively, almost twice the legal limit, suggests this offence should attract a sentence to the middle-to-upper end of that range,” said McKimm, who accepted Fox’s deep remorse, noting he has undergone counselling since the accident and has abstained from drinking.

“This accident was preventable and should never have happened,” added the Whitelaws in their statement. “We hope with all our heart that everyone young and old has learned from this terrible tragedy. No family should have to live this nightmare and we know the sentencing Travis received will not bring our daughter Paige or her friend Carlee back but hope will stop others from making this terrible mistake.”

— with a file from Roger Knox, Vernon Morning Star

 

Paige Whitelaw always had a big smile on her face. (Photo submitted)

Just Posted

Former Capitals invited to NHL development camps

Three ex-BCHL players join Duncan product at summer training sessions

Cowichan papers are national award winners

Reporter Sarah Simpson was recognized twice for her efforts

Drought alert posted for Koksilah and Chemainus Rivers

Around the Cowichan region hot, dry weather is drying up tributary streams as well

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face Cowichan challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and even ate blueberry pie on Day 3

92-year-old Duncan man a fundraising dynamo

Duncan’s Fred Konkin does his bit to help charities

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Island man convicted of 1999 sex assault at Fraser Valley music festival

James Allen Redden, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty of three charges

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

City orders largest Kinder Morgan protest camp to leave

Residents of Camp Cloud near the Trans Mountain work site have 72 hours to leave

14-year-old pilot attempts to break Guinness World Record at B.C. airport

Mohd Shaikhsorab wants to become youngest pilot with fewest hours logged to fly solo

Price no guarantee for safety with horse riding helmets: new report

A Swedish insurance report reveals that many brands of equestrian helmets do not protect riders as well as they could.

Most Read