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Guilty pleas in drunk driving crash that killed two (CTV Kitchener, June 8, 2017)
A 31-year-old man admitted Thursday to being drunk behind the wheel last September when his car crashed into another vehicle, killing two men and seriously injuring two others.
Scott Altiman was driving his Dodge Charger when he crashed into a car and sent it flying.
The occupants of that car, 23-year-old Cody Andrews of New Hamburg and 46-year-old Jerry Pitre of London, died. The two other men in the car were seriously hurt.
According to the agreed statement of facts, Altiman had more than twice the legal alcohol limit in his system and was driving at speeds of up to 187 km/h.
An open beer was also found in his car at the time of the crash.
Family and friends of the victims filled the London courtroom today, listening to the devastating details.
“I want my son back,” said Rose Imhoff, Pitre’s mother.
“I miss him so much, he was my life, he was my best friend, he was everything to me,” she said.
Altiman will be back in court on June 19 to set a date for victim impact statements and sentencing.
With reporting by Krista Simpson
Selfish, Dangerous Drunk Driving Leaves 2 Dead. (London Free Press)
Scott Altiman’s actions behind the wheel on the night he killed two people sound like they were lifted from a textbook describing the worst in selfish, dangerous, drunk driving.
While firefighters scrambled to cut him out of his mangled car that had careened into not one, but two front porches after cutting another car in half on impact in the heart of the city, Altiman was in the driver’s seat, snoring.
There was an open tall can of Bud Light beer on the passenger side floor with a bit left and another empty bottle of PC light beer. And, not surprisingly, there was a strong odour of booze inside the car.
In a packed courtroom heavy in heartbreak, there were gasps when everyone learned how fast Altiman was going when he hit Eric Allensen’s car — 187 km/h — and more reaction when assistant Crown attorney Charles Yih said Altiman had a blood-alcohol reading of 175 milligrams in 100 millilitres of blood, more than twice the legal limit.
Altiman, 31, of Delaware, a father and volunteer hockey coach, pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of impaired driving causing death, two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm, two counts of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
Killed in the crash on Sept. 8, 2016, were Jerry Pitre, 46, of London and Cody Andrews, 23, of New Hamburg, two backseat passengers in a car that had the green light at Dundas Street and Highbury Avenue just before 2 a.m.
Altiman didn’t just run the red light, he went through it like a bullet. That violent crash into Eric Allensen’s car ended a night of foolish, unexplained driving.
Minutes before the crash, Altiman was seen driving his 2011 blue Dodge Charger north in the southbound lanes of Highbury Avenue. He narrowly avoided tragedy when another driver, who had just turned onto the street at Northland Plaza, swerved into the curb lane to avoid hitting Altiman head-on.
Altiman carried on, turning into the plaza. A police officer, who witnessed the scene at the intersection, started to follow him. Altiman sped through the plaza parking lot onto Huron Street and back south on Highbury. He was gone.
The driver he almost hit watched him speed past him through a red light. Altiman floored it, travelling at between 187 and 193 km/h toward Dundas Street.
Two people were killed and three sent to hospital after a collision between this car and another at the intersection of Highbury Ave and Dundas St in London, Ont. on Thursday September 8, 2016. (DEREK RUTTAN, The London Free Press)
And then, carnage.
Allensen, 25, was driving his 1987 Buick Grand National. Beside him in the passenger seat was Carlie Matthews, 25. Andrews and Pitre were in the back.
Altiman’s car slammed into the back half of the driver’s side of Allensen’s car, launching it into the air, flipping and spinning, until it landed, rolled and struck a utility pole.
The rear of the car was completely severed, and the passenger seat was forced forward. Pitre and Andrews were ejected through the rear window and landed in the northbound lanes of Highbury. Neither man had vital signs when first responders tried to save them. They were pronounced dead at hospital.
Allensen had a large cut to his head, a broken vertebra and broken nose. Matthews had a broken pelvis, broken thumb and serious bruising to her face. Both were unconscious.
Altiman kept going. He swerved and jumped the median, hit a light standard and a road sign, ripping off the driver’s side wheel. The car then hit the porches of two houses, before it finally stopped.
It was on fire.
A London police officer who first got to Altiman’s car could smell alcohol and saw the open beers. Altiman identified himself as “Scott.”
Then, with the firefighters trying to get him out, he started to snore.
On the way to the hospital, Altiman fell into unconsciousness and the police officer who rode with him put his head about 10 centimetres above Altiman’s mouth.
“(He) could detect a very strong odour of an alcoholic beverage on his breath each time he exhaled,” Yih said.
An accident reconstructionist was able to determine the speed of the car using the black box recorder in Altiman’s car.
His blood alcohol level was calculated using samples of Altiman’s blood.
Scott Altiman, centre, hides behind a group of supporters as he leaves the London courthouse after pleading guilty to two counts of impaired driving causing death and six other charges Thursday. (MORRIS LAMONT, The London Free Press)
What remains to be heard is why Altiman, a man with no criminal record, was so drunk and reckless. Defence lawyer James Melnyk requested a Gladue report, a pre-sentence report for aboriginal offenders.
Families of the victims have been invited to submit victim impact statements. His sentencing date, or days, given the number of people affected by the crash, will be set June 19.
Outside court, Pitre’s mother, Rose
Imhoff, leaning on the shoulder of Allensen’s mother, Donna, could not conceal her grief.
“He was everything to me,” she said.
“It’s nine months today he’s gone. I don’t see his face anymore, I don’t hear his voice. It’s hard.”
Pitre worked at the Alehouse in downtown London. He, Allensen, Andrews and Matthews had gone out for nachos to talk about Andrews’ recent trip.
“They were good kids, They didn’t deserve what he (Altiman) did to them,” she said.
“I hope he rots in jail.”