Former Winnipeg cop was likely impaired during deadly 2017 crash: parole board
Police tape is seen at the site of a fatal hit and run on Oct. 10, 2017.
WINNIPEG -- A former Winnipeg police officer who pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death in a 2017 crash said he was likely impaired by alcohol at the time of the crash.
Justin Holz, who pleaded guilty to the charge in 2019 and was sentenced to 30 months in prison, was granted both day parole and full parole on April 15, 2020.
CTV News Winnipeg obtained a copy of the parole hearing record.
According to an agreed statement of facts presented in court, Holz was off-duty when he met with colleagues at a pub on Oct. 10, 2017, leaving three hours later. Investigators said he was driving up to 92 km/h in a 50 km/h zone through downtown Winnipeg after leaving the bar.
Cody Severight, 23, was crossing at Main Street and Sutherland Avenue with another person as Holz was driving in their direction. Holz swerved to avoid hitting the other person, but struck Severight while driving at least 76 km/h.
“The victim was propelled 16.14 meters (sic), he hit a cement container resulting in a fractured skull and broken neck,” the parole board wrote in its decision. “You sped away from the scene and drove to a parking lot from which you called the police approximately 10 minutes after hitting the victim.”
Severight died from his injuries at a hospital.
During the parole board hearing, Holz said he drank four pints of beer on the night of the incident.
“You agreed that based on 'extrapolation' of your breath alcohol tests you would have been over the legal limit at the time of the offence,” the parole board wrote.
The parole board said a Breathalyzer test was completed four hours after the incident, which showed Holz’s blood-alcohol level was below the legal limit.
Holz said he was not sure why there was a delay in administering a Breathalyzer test. The report said he had “no part” in requesting the delay.
An impaired driving charge was stayed as part of his guilty plea.
The report also said Holz told the parole board the reason he fled the scene after hitting Severight was the location was near a “known security threat group” bar and he was wearing a golf shirt that showed he was affiliated with law enforcement.
The parole board noted Holz was a low risk to re-offend and has expressed remorse for causing Severight’s death. The board said Holz has stopped drinking since the night of the crash.
As part of his parole conditions, Holz is prohibited from consuming, possessing, or purchasing alcohol, and has a three-year driving prohibition.
He is no longer a member of the Winnipeg Police Service.
-With files from The Canadian Press