Calgary father receives 5.5 year sentence for drunk driving crash that killed his daughter

CALGARY — Michael Shaun Bomford received a 5.5 year prison sentence Wednesday for a 2016 drunk driving crash that killed his 17-year-old daughter and left her best friend with a serious brain injury.

“I’m devastated for sure. I will be devastated every day for the rest of my life that I don’t have my best friend beside me,” said Kelsey Nelson, now 20, outside court.

Earlier this year, Bomford, 55, was convicted of dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm. He is also guilty of causing a crash while having an illegal amount of alcohol in his system.

“No sentence will bring Meghan back or miraculously heal Kelsey Nelson,” said Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Kristine Eidsvik. “He breached their trust in driving them in such an impaired state.”

Bomford was three times over the legal alcohol limit when he lost control of his Jeep on McKnight Boulevard N.E. between 52nd and 68th Streets on Oct. 18, 2016. The vehicle was travelling at a speed of around 112 km/hr in an 80 km/hr zone just before it rolled. All three occupants were thrown from the vehicle.

Meghan Bomford did not survive.

Bomford was driving the teens to get police background checks so they could apply to become junior ringette coaches.

“I hate him. I’ve never hated someone in this world but I know what real hate feels like when I look at him,” said Nelson, who considered Bomford a father figure.

Nelson, who was 16-years-old at the time of the crash, suffered a severe brain injury and has no recollection of the incident.

Nelson now has trouble with her memory, mobility and balance issues, but says it’s a gift she is still alive.

“If I hit my head hard enough I could just potentially kill myself, so it’s a little bit hard to live life carefree,” said Nelson.

At Bomford’s sentencing hearing last month, the crown argued Bomford should be sentenced to seven years in prison. The defence suggested five years was appropriate.

“We had hoped that the Justice would have made more of an example out of this case, that if you drink and drive and kill your child and then plead not guilty and try to pin it on her, that you’re going to go to jail for a long time,” said Heather Cooper, Meghan’s aunt. “5.5 years is going to have to be enough, it’s what we got, so we’ll take it. But nothing’s going to bring Meghan back.”

The defence had argued during the trial, witnesses could not identify who was behind the wheel.

Meghan’s aunt said she hopes drivers will finally get the message to never drive drunk.

“You have the opportunity to not ruin lives…take a cab, take an Uber, walk, I don’t care, but don’t drive drunk anymore, please,” said Cooper.

Cooper said now that the court case is over, the family can start to grieve Meghan.

“She was a light in our family and it’s been extinguished. We’ve had turmoil, with someone who committed the crime who wouldn’t even take responsibility for it hanging over our heads for these four years,” said Cooper.

Nelson said she remembers her soulmate, and best friend of 12 years every day.

“She’s out there somewhere wherever she is, I just hope she’s listening to me and she’s so proud of me. I’ve done this all for her and I just really hope that she can feel my love still, because I feel hers still,” said Nelson.

Bomford had been out on bail pending sentencing.

Eidsvik also noted Bomford was convicted of impaired driving in the 1990s.

Bomford also received an eight year driving prohibition. He will receive credit for the time he has not been permitted to drive, leaving him with five years once he is released from prison.

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