News / Vancouver

Brent Parent handed 5 1/2 year sentence for road rage death of Silas O'Brien

Brent Parent sat with his head down as a judge sentenced him Thursday to five-and-a-half years in jail for the hit-and-run death of Silas O’Brien in Langley four years ago.

B.C. Supreme Court Judge Terence Schultes also handed Parent, 43, a 12-year driving prohibition, which will begin after his release.

Parent was found guilty in January of criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving, and failing to remain at the scene of an accident.

Schultes noted in his sentencing Parent did not intend to kill O’Brien but he was totally responsible for his actions fuelled by “foolish and unthinking anger.”

“Vehicles must in no circumstance be used as instruments of aggression,” Schultes said.

O’Brien’s father Rodger told reporters the sentence could’ve been stiffer, but the family is quite satisfied with the decision and relieved for the trial to be over.

“It’s more or less what we expected,” he said. “We feel that it’s a sentence that will likely not be appealed so it’s all good … We just want to put this all behind us and carry on.”

In the early hours of March 13, 2008, O’Brien and his two friends, Luke Stephen and Sam Dooley, were on their way to Seattle to catch a flight for a Hawaiian vacation. When Dooley tried to pass Parent’s Ford F-350 truck, Parent sped up and forced their truck off the road and into a ditch on 16th Avenue in Langley.

The group got out of the vehicle unharmed when Parent drove back a short time later, swerved toward the young men, hitting O’Brien. He died at the scene.

Crown prosecutor Donna Ballyk said she hopes the sentence will cause people to reflect on how they drive — especially aggressive drivers — and realize their actions can lead to tragedy.

Crown had called for an eight-year jail term and 15-year driving ban, arguing Parent racked up 64 motor vehicle infractions over the course of 25 years. The defence pushed for three to four years in prison with a three to three-and-a-half year ban.

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