|Cody Wengenmayr is pictured outside of the Kelowna Law Courts building in September during a break from his trial.|
Dressed in black, the Kelowna man stood up at his sentence hearing and apologized to Trey Alphonse's family for deciding to drive after drinking. As part of his punishment, he's prepared to tell his story to strangers so others don't do the same.
"I know I should never have drank and drove. And I've made myself realize it was a stupid choice and one I will never make again," he said Tuesday.
"It's a chance for all of us to realize it's very dangerous to drink and drive, and I can only hope other people can learn a lesson from my mistake and realize it's not safe."
Trey was six when Wengenmayr's car struck him on Harvey Avenue in August 2010. Wengenmayr was found guilty in November of impaired driving causing his death and causing bodily harm to the boy's mother Iris.
The Crown is seeking a prison term of three to four years and a driving prohibition for five to 10 years. Wengenmayr asked for 90 days up to a year in jail. Part of his probation should be dedicated to warning people of the subtle changes that result from drinking and how much harder it is to react in unexpected situations, said his lawyer, David Johnson.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gregory Bowden reserved his decision, admitting the case is "challenging" because Wengenmayr is a young man with no criminal record.
Iris Alphonse was jaywalking across six lanes as she pulled her son across the highway at night in front of Orchard Park mall. She hesitated on the median and ran across the westbound lanes holding Trey's hand as he dragged his toy scooter.
Wengenmayr, 21, failed to slow down for the pair as he drove west with a friend in the HOV lane. Other motorists slowed down, but Wengenmayr kept driving at the same speed. His car clipped Alphonse, breaking her leg, and launched Trey 20 metres. He died later in hospital.
The case is a wake-up call for people who drink a few beverages after work and get behind the wheel thinking they're not impaired, said Johnson.
"There are effects of alcohol a person might not notice. When they're put in a situation that requires them to react in a certain manner . . . (they won't) be able to react as if they were sober."
Still, Johnson threw some blame on Iris Alphonse for thinking she and Trey could cross the highway before vehicles got to her. Wengenmyer is morally at fault for drinking and driving but it must be balanced against her actions, he said.
"The only innocent party here is Trey."
A breathalyzer test showed Wengenmayr's blood-alcohol content was .09 two hours after the crash. A forensic expert concluded his level was as much as .14 at the time of the collision.
The relatively low reading minimizes his moral blameworthiness, Johnson argued. Wengenmyer was driving at close to the speed limit, is remorseful and hasn't driven since the collision.
Five weeks before the crash, a police officer slapped Wengenmyer with a 24-hour driving prohibition because he'd been drinking, said Crown counsel David Ruse. His blood-alcohol level may have been less than .08, but it should have dissuaded him from drinking and driving again, Ruse said.
"He drank to the point that is now the fail zone . . . He's driving again. (The earlier incident) would have brought home to him the level of alcohol that causes problems."
Wengenmyer was also licensed as a novice driver, a designation that forbids him from having any alcohol in his body, Ruse said.
The judge promised to give his sentence considerable thought.
"He has to go to jail. My decision is for how long," Bowden said.