Penticton Law Courts

Nine months jail for Okanagan crash that left one woman a quadriplegic

Silous Paul sentenced for causing crash that left four friends permanently injured

In the flash of a moment, four friends vacationing in the Okanagan had their lives changed forever when a vehicle careened into theirs on a beautiful summer day in Oliver on July 21, 2017.

What was supposed to be a nice drive along Vaseux Lake turned to hell in an instant for Laurie and Warren Hamm and their friends Charles De Grout and Susan Carly. The crash left Laurie Hamm a quadriplegic.

The man who caused this carnage, Silous Paul was in Penticton Supreme Court on Friday to be sentenced. Paul, who is now 22, will serve nine months in jail, followed by one-year probation and a three-year driving ban for four counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. The crash left Victoria native Laurie Hamm a quadriplegic and her husband Warren with permanent injuries. The other couple in the vehicle will sustain lifelong pain.

The court heard heartbreaking victim impact statements from all of the victims and the Hamm children.

“This selfish act changed our lives forever. Now my wife has no use of her legs, limited use of her arms, no bladder or bowel control,” said Warren Ham. “I’ve become a full-time caregiver. I am reminded daily that I will never have a relationship with my wife again.”

When the crash happened, Laurie could be heard saying ‘I can’t move.’ She screamed out, “God, don’t let me paralyzed,” De Grout recalled in his impact statement.

Susan Carly was unable to breathe from the impact to her chest. By a miracle, someone had oxygen that was provided to Susan until emergency responders arrived. Warren was also severely injured.

“It was pandemonium,” De Grout recalled.

“By then the other vehicle had caught fire and I was trapped. My ankle was jammed under the gas pedal. They had to use the Jaws of Life to get me out. Lives ruined from one selfish act.”

The court learned that Paul had been partying in Osoyoos that night but that next morning he got word that his cousin in Penticton had just committed suicide.

Grief-stricken he took his Chrysler 300, driving dangerously, overtaking cars to get to Penticton when he took a sharp corner too fast, crossing into oncoming traffic and crashing violently into the Hamms and De Grout’s vehicle.

De Grout said Warren and Laurie were healthy, well-liked teachers who had just retired and were looking forward to golfing and other activities.

The Hamms daughter Keegen said there has not been a single moment of joy in three years for her parents.

“The life she had planned has all been taken away from her now. She was fiercely independent and now she needs help to take a sip of water or move hair from her face.

“My dad has his own health issues but those must be put on the back burner while he cares for my mom. This life he has is not sustainable. I haven’t seen them happy in three years.”

De Grout spoke of how the crash impacted him and his wife.

“None of us will ever be over the physical and emotional pain and there was no valid reason for Silous’ actions that day,” he said.

But in his victim impact statement, Mr. Grout forgave Silous.

“I forgive you and ask you to pay it forward to make a difference in someone’s life.”

Paul did address his victims on Friday.

“I am sincerely sorry for the damage I caused. I’m not going to repeat this ever again.”

In her sentencing, Justice Beames said the harm done is ‘incalculable’ all from a ‘thoughtless and selfish act.’

“Given your youth, your status as Indigenous and your remorse, this is an appropriate sentence.”

The judge also ordered Paul to watch a video the Hamm family made called, “A Day in the Life of Laurie.”

She ordered Paul to write an essay on the video and the harm he has caused and submit it to his probation officer. She also ordered him to 50 hours of community service, hopefully to be served in a rehab centre so he understand the harm he caused.

She also ordered him to pay Laurie Hamm $150 per month for 12 months.

“We understand this was a mistake. You are not a criminal. My hope is that you can go back to contributing.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Benjamin Cashion, left, the first baby born at Shuswap Lake General Hospital in 2021, is already taking to his older brother Liam. (Submitted)
Newcomers to Shuswap welcome Salmon Arm hospital’s first baby of 2021

The Cashion family’s newest son Benjamin was born on Jan. 8.

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

(Photo: Pixabay)
Enderby chamber proposes new rural e-business training program

The program would help rural-area businesses expand using online tools and insights

Signs in Homer, Alaska, offer inspiration during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Michael Armstrong-Homer News)
COLUMN: COVID-19 pandemic hits home

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

With bridge construction well underway on the project to replace the Solsqua-Sicamous bridge. Motorists should expect delays of up to half an hour. (Jim Elliot/Eagle Valley News)
Pedestrian path would connect Solsqua-Sicamous bridge to community

District of Sicamous staff say bridge replacement project on tight schedule

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Most Read