Penticton Law Courts

Nine months jail for Okanagan crash that left one woman a quadriplegic

Silous Paul sentenced for causing crash that left four friends permanently injured

In the flash of a moment, four friends vacationing in the Okanagan had their lives changed forever when a vehicle careened into theirs on a beautiful summer day in Oliver on July 21, 2017.

What was supposed to be a nice drive along Vaseux Lake turned to hell in an instant for Laurie and Warren Hamm and their friends Charles De Grout and Susan Carly. The crash left Laurie Hamm a quadriplegic.

The man who caused this carnage, Silous Paul was in Penticton Supreme Court on Friday to be sentenced. Paul, who is now 22, will serve nine months in jail, followed by one-year probation and a three-year driving ban for four counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. The crash left Victoria native Laurie Hamm a quadriplegic and her husband Warren with permanent injuries. The other couple in the vehicle will sustain lifelong pain.

The court heard heartbreaking victim impact statements from all of the victims and the Hamm children.

“This selfish act changed our lives forever. Now my wife has no use of her legs, limited use of her arms, no bladder or bowel control,” said Warren Ham. “I’ve become a full-time caregiver. I am reminded daily that I will never have a relationship with my wife again.”

When the crash happened, Laurie could be heard saying ‘I can’t move.’ She screamed out, “God, don’t let me paralyzed,” De Grout recalled in his impact statement.

Susan Carly was unable to breathe from the impact to her chest. By a miracle, someone had oxygen that was provided to Susan until emergency responders arrived. Warren was also severely injured.

“It was pandemonium,” De Grout recalled.

“By then the other vehicle had caught fire and I was trapped. My ankle was jammed under the gas pedal. They had to use the Jaws of Life to get me out. Lives ruined from one selfish act.”

The court learned that Paul had been partying in Osoyoos that night but that next morning he got word that his cousin in Penticton had just committed suicide.

Grief-stricken he took his Chrysler 300, driving dangerously, overtaking cars to get to Penticton when he took a sharp corner too fast, crossing into oncoming traffic and crashing violently into the Hamms and De Grout’s vehicle.

De Grout said Warren and Laurie were healthy, well-liked teachers who had just retired and were looking forward to golfing and other activities.

The Hamms daughter Keegen said there has not been a single moment of joy in three years for her parents.

“The life she had planned has all been taken away from her now. She was fiercely independent and now she needs help to take a sip of water or move hair from her face.

“My dad has his own health issues but those must be put on the back burner while he cares for my mom. This life he has is not sustainable. I haven’t seen them happy in three years.”

De Grout spoke of how the crash impacted him and his wife.

“None of us will ever be over the physical and emotional pain and there was no valid reason for Silous’ actions that day,” he said.

But in his victim impact statement, Mr. Grout forgave Silous.

“I forgive you and ask you to pay it forward to make a difference in someone’s life.”

Paul did address his victims on Friday.

“I am sincerely sorry for the damage I caused. I’m not going to repeat this ever again.”

In her sentencing, Justice Beames said the harm done is ‘incalculable’ all from a ‘thoughtless and selfish act.’

“Given your youth, your status as Indigenous and your remorse, this is an appropriate sentence.”

The judge also ordered Paul to watch a video the Hamm family made called, “A Day in the Life of Laurie.”

She ordered Paul to write an essay on the video and the harm he has caused and submit it to his probation officer. She also ordered him to 50 hours of community service, hopefully to be served in a rehab centre so he understand the harm he caused.

She also ordered him to pay Laurie Hamm $150 per month for 12 months.

“We understand this was a mistake. You are not a criminal. My hope is that you can go back to contributing.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Summerland council should reconsider solar project

Money could be put to road repairs in the community

Although B.C. has not made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, some business owners are requiring all customers to wear them before entering their store. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
EDITORIAL: Heightened tension over face masks

Incidents of anger and conflicts over mandated masks happening too frequently

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, Tuesday, June, 12, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Okanagan-Shuswap real estate market continues hot start to 2021

Sales in February were up more than 100 per cent over last year, reports the Association of Interior Realtors

The City Park dock in Kelowna was underwater due to rising Okanagan Lake flooding in 2017. (OBWB photo)
Okanagan facing extreme flooding risk

Water board calls for updated Okanagan Lake level management

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The man currently being sought by Oliver RCMP in connection to an assault and robbery at the BC Cannabis Store in Oliver. If you know the identity of the man, the RCMP would like to know. (RCMP)
South Okanagan police looking for man accused in robbery and assault at pot shop

The man allegedly assaulted an employee at the BC Cannabis Store

(Government of B.C.)
Protesters stood outside the Vernon Courts Thursday, March 4, 2021, as a Curtis Wayne Sagmoen matter came before the courts once again. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)
UPDATE: Sagmoen to make plea in two weeks for cop assault charge

The offence allegedly took place on Oct. 29 in Spallumcheen

School bus fees are being charged to all riders in the Vernon School District. (Courtesy photo)
Parents pressure Vernon school board to curb bus fee hike

More than 1,200 signatures on petition against $200 rider fees, to be discussed at board meeting

(Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
COVID-19 exposures confirmed at two Kelowna schools

Pearson Road Elementary, Rutland Senior Secondary confirm one case of the virus at each school

The Brooke Drive interchange is part of the Chase Four-Laning Project currently being worked on by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure image)
Second phase of Highway 1 four-laning in Chase expected to be tendered soon

Work already underway for Chase West phase of project

Shuswap Adventure Girl Sarah Tokarek has a particular passion for hiking trails around Blind Bay and the South Shuswap. (Contributed)
Shuswap mom helps others find their own outdoor adventures

Sarah Tokarek is Shuswap Adventure Girl, an online trail guide for the region

Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

Most Read