Gabriola man who struck, killed beloved firefighter gets two-year sentence

Gabriola man who struck, killed beloved firefighter gets two-year sentence
Nanaimo News Now
WatchA Gabriola Island man was sentenced to two years in prison for a fatal 2018 crash that killed a beloved firefighter. Kendall Hanson reports.
William Goosman is shown.

A 49-year-old Gabriola Island man has been sentenced for dangerous driving causing the death of a beloved firefighter.

William Goosman pleaded guilty at the Nanaimo courthouse in December in the fatal crash that killed 58-year-old Jay Dearman.

“The impact on the family I can’t describe. It’s beyond description. It’s horrible,” said Suzanne Dearman, Jay Dearman’s widow.

At 8:15 a.m. on Jan. 24, 2018, witnesses saw a van speeding through a school zone and soon after it was weaving across the centre line of Berry Point Road.

It went across the road and struck Dearman, who was jogging with his running group.

His wife of 38 years, Suzanne, was also part of the group and arrived at the scene soon after. In her victim impact statement, she said she’s suffered from flashbacks of seeing her husband’s body on the road.

“We had a beautiful family and when we moved to Gabriola in 2008, that’s when he started to live his dream that he always wanted to be a firefighter and a first responder,” said Suzanne.

The court also heard Goosman suffers from chronic stomach pain following the removal of a non-cancerous tumour years ago. He was prescribed pain medication which led him to take street drugs. The morning of the dangerous driving and crash his blood-alcohol level was well below the legal limit, but he says he was on prescribed medication.

“[He was on] a recent suboxone prescription that apparently did not fare well. He says he has no recollection of the driving or even of the collision,” said Michael Ritzker, Goosman’s lawyer.

Goosman, who had no previous record, addressed the court Tuesday, saying: “I want to apologize for what happened. I feel absolutely horrible about it and I want to do whatever I can to make up for it.”

The judge followed the joint submission and sentenced Goosman to two years-less-a-day in jail followed by 18 months probation.

“Nothing is going to make a difference as far as Jay goes. It won’t bring him back, but if Goosman can get help that’s the only good that can come of this,” Suzanne said.

Once released from jail, Goosman will also be subject to a five-year driving prohibition.

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Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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