By Tara de Ryk
SASKATOON — John Koch, 50, pleaded guilty in Saskatoon provincial court Thursday to impaired driving causing the death of 25-year-old Danille Kerpan of Kenaston.
Koch’s lawyer entered a guilty plea to the charge of impaired driving causing death.
Koch was present, however, he did not appear before the court.
The matter was handled in minutes as the Crown and defence set a date of Jan. 18 for the next court appearance to arrange for a sentencing hearing.
Danille’s parents Allan and Melanie Kerpan of Kenaston, other family members and friends, who were court Thursday morning, immediately left the room.
Allan Kerpan said the proceedings were “slightly less dramatic” than they’d expected.
“It’s another step we have go through.”
On Oct. 10, 2014, Danille was driving south on Highway 11 to Davidson when her car was struck by a pickup truck heading north in the southbound lane near Bladworth.
Danille died at the scene. Koch was seriously injured and later charged with one count each of impaired driving causing death, operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level above 0.08, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle causing death.
On Thursday, as the Kerpans prepared to leave provincial court, outside a media scrum was taking place with members of the family of Jordan and Chanda Van De Vorst and their two children Kamryn, 5, and Miguire, 2.
The family of four was killed around 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 3 when their car was struck by an SUV north of Saskatoon on Highway 11. The SUV was crossing the Highway from Wanuskewin Road when it hit the Van De Vorsts’ car.
Catherine McKay had made a brief court appearance Thursday to answer to numerous charges relating to the death of the Van De Vorst family including four charges of impaired driving causing death.
As the Kerpans’ ordeal through the courts is about to wind down, another family’s is beginning.
“I offer them our condolences and they are welcome to give us a call. I would never have known how they could possibly feel prior to this happening to our family. You think you know, but you cannot possibly know the sorrow and the loss and the grief when you lose somebody, and theirs is times four,” Allan Kerpan said as a message from one grieving family to another, referring to the Van De Vorsts who had spoken to reporters moments before.
Kerpan said when he learned of the Van De Vorst family’s death he was overwhelmed with sadness.
“It renews the sadness and grief we’ve had with our case,” he said.
For the full story, please see the Jan. 11 edition of The Davidson Leader.