Travis Eric Fox, 28, charged in a March 2018 accident that killed a man, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and causing an accident resulting in death, in provincial court in Nanaimo Feb. 5. (News Bulletin file)

Drunk driver who flipped car in Nanaimo, killing passenger, gets prison sentence

Travis Eric Fox, 28, sentenced to two and a half years following 2018 crash

A man with a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit, who flipped and crashed his BMW in 2018, killing a passenger, has been sentenced to two and a half years behind bars.

Travis Eric Fox, 28, was set to stand trial in provincial court in Nanaimo on Wednesday, but instead entered guilty pleas to dangerous driving causing death and operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content over 80 milligrams causing death. A charge of impaired driving causing death was dropped by Brett Webber, Crown counsel.

Fox was driving in the 2000 block of Boxwood Road at approximately 9:30 p.m. on March 22, 2018, with a friend and passenger, a 38-year-old man. Citing a police accident reconstruction report, Webber said the car was estimated to be going 119 kilometres an hour and Fox lost control at what was described as a “hairpin corner.” The report said Fox failed to negotiate the curve and began to drift toward the outside of the curve. The vehicle then drove off the asphalt and onto a grass boulevard on the east end of Boxwood.

RELATED: Crash on Boxwood Road claims man’s life

The car went airborne off the curb edge of the boulevard. After landing, Fox drove into a shrub garden and struck some large concrete chunks with the front of his car, which forced the vehicle to be airborne again while rolling onto its side. It landed on the driver’s side before rolling onto its roof and impacting a pair of parked cars, according to the police report.

The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene, with the coroner stating death occurred as a direct result of injuries sustained from the collision and impact.

Nanaimo RCMP officers on the scene said they could smell alcohol on Fox’s breath, said Webber, and following analysis, it was determined Fox had 168 milligrams of alcohol in a 100 millilitres sample that was taken. The legal limit is 80 mg in 100 mL.

Addressing the court, Fox said he had positive memories of the victim and was proud to call him his friend. He felt remorse and guilt due to the accident and apologized to the victim’s family.

Webber sought a two- to four-year jail sentence. Bert King, Fox’s legal counsel, said a sizable fine, probation and community service and an intermittent jail time of 90 days or less were options available.

King said his client had no criminal record, has been an exemplary citizen with a job as a journeyman electrician, but committed one minute of stupidity.

In his judgment, Judge Ted Gouge said King’s characterization of Fox as having committed one minute of stupidity was inaccurate, stating that sometime before the accident, Fox had drunk a considerable amount of alcohol before deciding to drive.

King said the decision to enter guilty pleas was not a last-minute decision and told the News Bulletin that Fox’s conscience was weighing on him.

“After review of all the Crown evidence, it was my view that the Crown had a compelling case when it came to speed and blood-alcohol concentration, said King after Gouge made his decision. “However, sometimes compelling cases can be not so compelling after cross-examination.

“My client decided that he had such remorse for the death of his friend that he didn’t want to put the family or anyone else through that. He wished to plead.”

Webber said he did not wish to comment.

Upon his release, Fox will also be subject to a two-year driving ban.

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