Man pleads guilty over New Year’s crash

Roland Capilo was charged over an accident that resulted in the death of his niece

A man charged in connection with the New Year’s Eve 2012 death of 20-year-old Brittany Capilo has pleaded guilty in Cranbrook provincial court.

Roland Capilo, Brittany’s uncle, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death and failure to stop at an accident causing bodily harm on Monday, May 27.

The court heard that the accident occurred on LD Ranch Road on the ?aq’am (St. Mary’s Band) reserve at around 5 a.m. on January 1, 2012.

There were five people in a Dodge van driven by Roland Capilo, and they had been driving back from the hoodoos on the reserve after celebrating the new year.

Occupants of the vehicle reported that Capilo had been drinking, and was driving at around 100 kilometres an hour.

Brittany Capilo was seated in the middle of the rear passenger seat and was not wearing a seatbelt.

Roland Capilo lost control of the vehicle, and it rolled six times before coming to a stop.

No other occupants of the vehicle were seriously hurt in the crash, but Brittany Capilo was thrown about 25 metres from the van and died at the scene.

Roland Capilo fled the scene before RCMP arrived, but a police dog tracked the man down. Capilo then told RCMP that he ran away because he was scared and didn’t know what to do.

A Gladue report, which takes into account circumstances facing Aboriginal people, and a pre-sentencing report are being prepared before Capilo is sentenced.

That sentencing hearing is likely to occur after August 1, with a fix a date hearing scheduled for July 15.