The driver of a speedboat responsible for a fatal night-time collision on Shuswap Lake nearly 10 years ago has been denied parole, in part because of his refusal to take responsibility for the incident and for him placing blame on the man who died in the crash.
Ken Brown died on July 3, 2010, when his houseboat was struck by a speedboat driven by Leon Reinbrecht. Brown had been driving the houseboat. A number of his passengers were injured.
Reinbrecht, 57, was convicted in 2015 and sentenced to three years in prison, but he remained free on bail until January 2019, when his appeal was rejected by the B.C. Court of Appeal.
Reinbrecht’s speedboat was seen driving recklessly in the hours and minutes leading up to the deadly collision. Witnesses who testified at trial described the boat “doing donuts” and speeding close to shore.
The crash took place in darkness near Magna Bay following a post-Canada Day fireworks display. Reinbrecht’s speedboat was fully embedded in Brown’s houseboat.
Police found a large quantity of empty liquor containers on Reinbrecht’s boat following the crash and emergency crews reported he smelled like liquor and was stumbling and slurring his speech.
Reinbrecht first applied for parole in August 2019, but he was denied. In its decision in August, Parole Board of Canada officials described Reinbrecht as having “little victim empathy” and, instead, viewing himself as the victim.
“You have not accepted full responsibility for the offence, referring to it as an accident, and have assigned blame to the other driver of the boat, who was killed due to your actions,” the decision stated.
Reinbrecht appealed the August denial, but his appeal was denied in a Parole Board of Canada decision dated Jan. 16 and made public on Monday.
“You repeatedly referred to the event in question as an ‘accident’ and displayed an unwillingness to accept culpability for your reckless, thrill-seeking behaviour, preferring to shift blame to the victim for not having the appropriate animation lights lit at night,” the decision stated. “The board saw this as indicative of a limited degree of insight into your offence.”
The legal proceedings against Reinbrecht were protracted. He was not charged in connection with the boat crash until 17 months after it had taken place. Another 46 months passed before he was convicted and another three years would go by before he began serving his prison sentence.
It is not known when Reinbrecht will re-apply for parole.