Driver jailed for three years

Jean Paul Kowal sentenced for crash that killed Donovan Pippus of Salmon Arm in September 2010.

Donovan Pippus

Donovan Pippus

A Kelowna man has been sentenced to three years in prison for causing the death of a Salmon Arm teen in a horrific highway crash.

Jean Paul Kowal, 42, was convicted in March of dangerous driving causing death after being acquitted on the more serious charge of impaired driving causing death.

He has also been banned from driving for four years.

The crash took place September 1, 2010 on Highway 97A near Enderby.

Kowal admitted to drinking prior to the crash but maintained he wasn’t impaired after slamming his pick-up truck into an oncoming car being driven by 17-year-old Donovan Pippus, who died at the scene.

Kowal had blood-alcohol levels more than three times the legal limit just hours later, but told the court he began drinking after the accident as a way to numb his physical pain and deal with his emotions. He maintains he fell asleep at the wheel.

Defence lawyer Rishi Gill said a jail sentence of 12 to 18 months was available under the facts, but Kowal was seeking a two-year federal sentence in order to have access to jail programming.

Prosecutor Angela Ross pointed to a pattern of poor driving behaviour, including Kowal’s previous impaired driving conviction, when asking for a three- to four-year sentence.

Judge Dev Dley concurred and on June 27 issued the three-year term. A conditional sentence order was not available after the federal government changed the law several years ago.