A Gabriola Island man changed his plea to guilty on what was scheduled to be the first day of a two-week trial.
In a Nanaimo courtroom on Monday, William Goosman, 48, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of 58-year-old Jay Dearman.
“I feel horrible about what happened,” said Goosman outside the courthouse. “My feelings are basically that I recognize from this point forward what happens matters. I need to do better.”
The collision happened on Gabriola Island on Jan. 24, 2018 at around 8:15 a.m.
Goosman was driving in his van when multiple witnesses saw the vehicle swerving on Berry Point Road.
The van then swerved across the road and hit Deerman, who was jogging with his running group which included his wife of 38 years.
Dearman, a beloved husband, father, grandfather and volunteer firefighter, died in hospital.
“He was the guy always cracking jokes, singing songs, making it a light and joyful place to be,” said Chief Will Sprogis of the Gabriola Island Volunteer Fire Department.
Those close to the victim say they’re glad he’s pleaded guilty.
“We’re glad that he’s accepted the liability for what he’s done. We hope that the sentence will be just and knowing that he pleaded guilty should make the community feel a little bit safer,” said Sprogis.
The Supreme Court Justice ordered a pre-sentence report be prepared that details any addiction’s Goosman may or does have though it’s not clear what role drugs or alcohol had in the crash.
“Let’s put it this way. Any evidence of that is peripheral and not necessarily compelling,” said Michael Ritzker, Goosman’s lawyer.
A date for sentencing will be set on Jan. 4.