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Lawyer: Reckless actions of impaired driver led to fatal 2019 Parksville hit-and-run

Crown requests six-year jail sentence for Ryan John Grob, 36
Courthouse in Nanaimo, located at 35 Front St. (PQB News file photo)

The sentencing of an impaired driver involved in a fatal hit-and-run incident in Parksville in late August 2019 will continue on Tuesday, Aug. 17.

On Aug. 12, a sentencing hearing for Ryan John Grob, 36, began at the Nanaimo courthouse where Crown counsel, Nick Barber, took court through the timeline of events that led to the fatal hit-and-run and the death of Spencer Alexander Moore.

In October 2020, Oceanside RCMP issued a release stating that Grob and Travis Zackery Taylor, a passenger in Grob’s Ford F-350, were arrested in connection with the death of Moore.

In February of this year, Grob pleaded guilty to the charge of impaired driving causing death, and was in court on Thursday to hear the determination of the length and conditions of his sentencing.

At the start of the hearing, Barber stated he would be requesting a ‘mid-range’ sentence based on previous rulings for similar cases and on Grob’s guilty plea.

Grob’s intoxicated actions and lack of personal responsibility on the night of the fatality, and the days following, were emphasized by Barber to Judge Karen Whonnock.

“The moral culpability here is extremely high,” he said.

READ MORE: RCMP: Two men face charges in relation to reported fatal hit-and-run incident in Parksville

Barber detailed the timeline on the night of Aug. 24, 2019, by explaining that Grob and Taylor started their night at the French Creek Marine Pub at approximately 6 p.m.

Later, the two were seen at the Rod & Gun Bar and Grill with several other community members known to them.

Several witnesses told police Grob appeared to be “highly intoxicated,” so much so that he was cut off by the establishment, and that his actions appeared “amped up” and aggressive.

Barber said Grob had also been consuming cocaine that night.

At approximately 2:30 a.m., Grob was seen departing the bar and arguing with a man who said he shouldn’t drive based on how drunk he was.

“Many of the people who attended the Rod & Gun did not drive home that night. Moore did not drive, he walked,” said Barber.

Grob was seen “peeling out” of the bar parking lot down Hirst Avenue towards McMillan Street.

“It is clear on the video surveillance, which has audio, that the truck is accelerating, and it can be heard striking something… a loud bang or popping noise that is picked up by the video surveillance camera. And it was also noted by persons in their apartments on that street.”

In the seconds following, said Barber, the video footage caught a body and various items sliding and flying down the street right at the location where the victim was struck.

“Mr. Grob’s vehicle continues on, does not slow down, does not stop.”

READ MORE: Guilty plea entered after 2019 hit-and-run that claimed the life of Parksville man

Another motorist following the same path as Grob noticed the body in the road and stopped to call 911, where reportedly an ambulance arrived in 10 minutes. Moore died on impact from blunt force trauma.

Barber said in the following days Grob, Taylor and another man led police “on a wild goose chase” in efforts to deceive.

During the hearing, Barber also detailed the many driving infractions and charges Grob had amassed in earlier years, stating that “there was nothing accidental about this” and that “Mr. Grob is a terrible driver.”

“It was almost certain that something was going to happen,” he said.

Court heard that following Moore’s death, Grob continued to drive as a prohibited motorist.

“Failing to take responsibility prolonged the anguish of the Moore family,” said Barber.

During the hearing, two members of Moore’s family came forward to provide victim impact statements.

Brandon, the victim’s older brother, compared the situation to being instantly pushed from a 10-storey window without having time to react and not being able to comprehend what happened and unsure if you would land.

The Crown requested a six-year jail sentence with 10 years driving prohibition. The defence counsel, Jeffrey Arndt, suggested a three-and-a-half to four-year sentence with six years driving prohibition.

The continuation of the hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 17, at the Nanaimo courthouse.

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Mandy Moraes

About the Author: Mandy Moraes

I joined Black Press Media in 2020 as a multimedia reporter for the Parksville Qualicum Beach News, and transferred to the News Bulletin in 2022
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