Father of two sentenced to jail for drunk driving death
Okotoks: Quebec parents of woman killed in crash came for drivers sentencing
By: Darlene Casten
| Posted: Friday, Jan 18, 2013 12:13 pm
The impact a fatal drunk driving accident 18 months ago had on the families of those involved were visibly apparent in an Okotoks courtroom last week.
Eve Parisi, a passenger in the car of a drunk driver, was killed on July 23, 2011 in a crash on Cimarron Blvd in Okotoks.
Parisi’s parents were in court on Jan. 16 to hear the sentencing of the man who admitted to being drunk behind the wheel.
Richard Parisi and his wife Michele Simard travelled from Quebec to hear the judge’s decision for Jarrett Evens, a 35-year-old Okotoks father of two.
Evens was driving Eve Parisi and another man from In Cahoots bar to McDonalds when the car lost control, striking several small trees and a lamppost. Parisi was thrown from the car. She was flown by STARS air ambulance to the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, but died later that day. The male passenger received multiple injuries from the crash, including a skull fracture, bleeding on the brain and fractures to his cheek and jaw.
Evens pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing injury and attempting to leave the scene of an accident and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail. He could be released from jail in 10 months after serving one-third of his sentence.
A bilingual police officer read out the victim impact statement written by Parisi’s parents who travelled from St. Catherines for the sentencing.
Parisi’s mother wrote in her statement of ongoing stress, insomnia and medical problems since her daughter’s death preventing her from working.
“Her absence is very hard to live with on a daily basis,” Simard wrote. “I’ll never be the same. There’s a part of me that died at the same time as Eve.”
Simard said in her statement she is taking anti-depressants, seeing a psychologist and taking medication for digestive problems, but finds she is still struggling to function.
Parisi’s father said he is still haunted by the memory of being told his daughter had died.
“I still relive the arrival of the police at my house,” he wrote. “I still can hear the horror scream of my wife… That pain is calling me all the time.”
He said he also has trouble sleeping and is struggling to cope with the loss.
“There are no words that can tell my suffering,” he said.
Parisi’s sister, Lea, also wrote a victim impact statement.
“Losing my sister completely changed me,” she wrote. “I will never live and love the same way.”
Evens apologized to Parisi’s family and his own family prior to being sentenced. His parents, ex-wife, a cousin and two co-workers attended the hearing and were also emotional.
“I’m so, so sorry,” Evens said, turning to speak to the people in the courtroom. “If there is anyway I could change this horrible tragedy, I would.”
Evens said he prays for everyone affected by the crash and said he at times wishes he could trade places with Parisi.
“I hope you are in a better place Eve, because the thought that you are is the only thing that keeps me going,” Evens said.
Evens’ lawyer, Ian Savage, told the court the sorrow of everyone in the courtroom that day needs to serve as a reminder to people the consequences of drinking and driving can be devastating.
“He is living example of an average person with an average life with friends and family and children of their own who can make a huge error in judgment when it comes to alcohol that brings down a huge tragedy,” Savage said. “Apparently that message is not getting out there.”
Judge Allan Fradsham agreed people need to wake up to the dangers of drinking and driving to avoid the terrible circumstances being felt in this case.
“This is a horrible, tragic example of two people, both contributing members of society, who have had their lives irrevocably torn apart,” Fradsham said.
Evens is a father with two children and works as an electrician. Parisi was in Okotoks to work as a nanny over the summer and moved temporarily to the town to improve her English and see the country. She was scheduled to return to Quebec, where she was attending English school, three weeks after her death.
Fradsham told Parisi’s parents Even’s sentence was not a reflection of the worth of her life.
“I’m dealing with the conduct and only some of the consequences,” Fradsham told them. “This life we lost is invaluable.”