Abby soccer coach sentenced for 16 Ave. crash in Langley

Driver says he will appeal verdict in January 2012 collision on busy east-west connector route

An Abbotsford resident who caused a head-on collision on 16 Avenue in Langley was described as both a “passionate and highly-skilled soccer instructor” and someone with an “unenviable driving record.”

Surrey Provincial Court judge Robert Hamilton made the comments before he sentenced Jean Jacques Bosco to 60 days in jail for the crash that injured Surrey resident Karen Linda Gulbranson on Jan. 14, 2012.

A transcript of the May 21, 2015 sentencing hearing was recently posted online by the Provincial Court of BC website.

Judge Hamilton also described Bosco as “an accomplished, law-abiding and contributing member of society.”

“Subject to what I will say about his driving record, there is nothing negative or incriminating to speak of in Mr. Bosco’s background,” the judge added.”

Bosco was driving eastbound on 16 Avenue heading home to Abbotsford from his soccer academy in Vancouver when the crash occurred under icy and slippery conditions near 240 Street in Langley Township.

As described at the hearing, Bosco was following another vehicle on the two-lane stretch of road when the other driver slammed on the brakes.

To avoid a collision, Bosco pulled his vehicle into oncoming traffic and passed the braking vehicle.

He passed three other eastbound vehicles before he hit the westbound Gulbranson vehicle at the crest of the blind hill near the 240 Street intersection.

Gulbranson suffered what were described by judge Hamilton as “life-altering injuries.”

There was no evidence Bosco was speeding or that alcohol was involved, the judge said.

But while Bosco has no criminal record, in the nine years before the crash he managed to rack up 11 “separate and related convictions for driving offences,” including six speeding violations and five dangerous or unsafe driving convictions.

His last speeding conviction was recorded a month before the head-on crash.

While Bosco’s driving record “is not the worst that we see in these courts,” judge Hamilton said, it appeared the multiple driving convictions did not have a deterrent effect.

The prosecution wanted six months in jail and a lengthy driving ban.

The defence was arguing for an absolute discharge, because a criminal record would almost certainly prevent Bosco from continuing his soccer academy with children.

While that would “negatively affect a large body of children who would no longer be able to learn soccer from Mr. Bosco” the judge said a fit sentence had to include jail time and inevitably leave Bosco with a criminal record.

In addition to his conviction for dangerous driving, Bosco also failed to show up for an Aug. 20, 1013 court appearance, which led to his arrest and spending six days in jail.

The judge allowed Bosco to serve his 60-day sentence a weekend at a time to allow him to continue with his soccer coaching.

He also imposed a two-year driving ban.

The judge also gave Bosco enhanced credit of nine days for the time already served for missing his court appearance, reducing the sentence to 51 days.

By email, Bosco declined a Times invitation to comment on the case, saying the verdict is being appealed.