A man who killed his passenger in a vehicle crash near Hope in 2017 was sentenced on Friday (Oct. 29) to 23 months jail followed by two years probation and a 10-year driving ban.
Anthony Creed Cortez previously pleaded guilty to theft of a motor vehicle and dangerous driving causing the death of Danielle (“DeeDee”) Charlton on Sept. 11, 2017.
That day he smashed a jewelry store window in Nelson and stole $30,000 worth of product. He then allegedly stole a Chevrolet Equinox that he crashed into a highway maintenance vehicle in Sunshine Valley east of Hope.
Charlton, a 35-year-old mother of four who was a passenger in the vehicle, died in the crash.
And Charlton’s mother, Lori Deschene, believes there was a reason the crash happened where it did.
“When he killed her in the accident, which by the way was right in front of our home in Sunshine Valley that was not a coincidence,” Deschene said via email. “He drove [500-plus] kilometres without incident until right in front of our home.”
Deschene said the case was one of ongoing domestic violence.
“I don’t want any other female and their family to have to go through what I and my family have gone through and are continuing to suffer.”
Cortez was originally also charged with failure to stop at accident causing bodily harm, occupying a vehicle knowing a firearm is present and two other firearms offences.
Those charges were dropped when he was sentenced in Chilliwack provincial court.
After the crash in Sunshine Valley, a Good Samaritan stopped to help and Cortez stole their pickup and fled.
Nine days later, he was caught near Revelstoke after stealing a motorcycle and fleeing police.
In Chilliwack provincial court on Aug. 27, 2018, Cortez was sentenced to nine months in jail for the jewelry store heist, and essentially time served for the Revelstoke crimes.
After that sentencing, Cortez addressed the judge with an apology to the service members involved with his arrest.
“I put them at risk and heartache and I’ve had some time to think and reflect and I’m sincerely sorry to all of them for my actions,” he said, making no mention of Charlton or her family. “I stand before you today, you have my word that you won’t see me standing here before you again. I’ve learned my lesson and I want to move on with my life and be a good father for my eight-year-old kid.”
Charges of a domestic assault on Charlton five months before her death were also dropped by Crown counsel since the case could no longer be proven with the death of the witness.
– with files from Martha Wickett
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