Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Deadly driver given prison sentence

Manitoban admits guilt in fatal Alberta crash

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A Manitoba man was sent to prison Wednesday for dangerous driving causing the death of his pregnant girlfriend and their unborn daughter last fall in Calgary.

Rick Rene Chipilski, 32, pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm at the start of what was to be his trial.

"I regret that I can't give the victim's family more comfort than these few words," provincial court Judge Allan Fradsham said in sentencing the accused to two years in jail.

"I can express a sadness in these proceedings and extend condolences, but I don't pretend to know the depths of their pain."

On Sept. 15, Chipilski was behind the wheel of his girlfriend's car when he lost control trying to pass a vehicle.

The Chevrolet Cavalier struck the median, spun clockwise into the ditch and rolled, killing Winnipegger Amanda Marie Frykas, 20, and injuring two other passengers.

Harry Frykas, the victim's father, broke down part way through reading his victim impact statement in court.

"Amanda (was) betrayed and murdered by the man she trusted as a good friend in a senseless and preventable tragedy," said the Manitoba resident.

"Not only did he end Amanda's life in this tragedy, but also a life that was coming into the world in just four to six weeks, as Amanda was that close to giving birth to their daughter, our first grandchild."

Gail Frykas said it was a parent's worst nightmare to learn her first-born child and what would have been her first grandchild were killed because of speed and alcohol.

"Seems like in a split second you are writing a birth announcement, now trying to put together an obituary for one of your children that no parent should ever have to write," she said.

Stephanie Burke, the victim's best friend, said outside court that Chipilski "wasn't even thinking about her or the baby," whom Frykas had already named Savannah.

Another friend, William Alton Smith, was paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the crash. Chantal Bisiallon-Sundstrom sustained a broken cheekbone, bruising and cuts.

Chipilski also pleaded guilty to breaching two court orders related to the crash. He was suspended from driving last May and ordered not to consume alcohol or drugs.

He also faced four counts of impaired driving, but they were dropped after he pleading guilty to the dangerous driving charges.

 

-- Canwest News Service, The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 20, 2009 A15

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