04/22/2015 02:15 EDT | Updated 06/22/2015 05:59 EDT

Ryan Symington Gets 27 Months For Marco Corbin's Death On B.C. Lake

"It is even more tragic that when Marco died, his family died emotionally with him."


PENTICTON, B.C. - A Calgary boater has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for the death of an 18-year-old man he refused to help after hitting him on B.C. lake.

Ryan Symington, 30, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Marco Corbin and leaving the scene of the accident four years ago.

The proceedings were briefly interrupted after one of the victim's three brothers cursed at Symington in the emotionally charged courtroom.

"Nothing this court does will bring Marco Corbin back," said provincial court Judge Gale Sinclair. "And it is even more tragic that when Marco died, his family died emotionally with him."

"The sentence, I know, will be totally unacceptable to Mr. Corbin's family. However, I am bound by precedent."

Court heard Symington had been drinking vodka and beer throughout the day on Aug. 16, 2011, while driving his boat on Osoyoos Lake.

Around 9:15 p.m., Symington's boat hit a tube on which Corbin and two other men were riding as it was being towed by a vessel.

Witnesses on Symington's boat told police they urged him to stop and help, but he refused and said he'd probably hit a log, Crown lawyer Mallory Treddenick told court.

Symington eventually called 911 and told the operator that someone was dying in the middle of the lake but offered no other details, Treddenick said.

He then drove back to the boat that had been towing Corbin and, after promising to follow the driver back to shore, went to Haynes Point.

There, he instructed people who were with him to tell police that a man with Hells Angels tattoos was driving his boat, Treddenick said.

Back on shore, bystanders, including a doctor and off-duty firefighter, tried unsuccessfully to revive Corbin. An autopsy later determined he died of head trauma.

In a series of heartbreaking victim impact statements read out in court, Corbin's family described the devastation that followed his death.

His father, Bob Corbin, said he was at the family home in Mission, B.C., when a Mountie came to the door to deliver the news.

"That's when my life stopped. Literally," he said, adding he felt such a "seismic body blow" that he went to the bathroom and overdosed on mediation that his mother had left there.

He said he spent several days in a coma and still deals with "the pain and the poison" of his son's death.

Corbin's mother, Elena Di Giovanni, said her life is now a "war zone of broken doors, broken walls, broken hearts, broken relationships, broken lives, broken spirits and broken hope."

Di Giovanni described her son, who was set to attend university on an engineering scholarship in the fall of 2011, as a "true Renaissance man who loved music, learning and life."

Defence lawyer Balfour Der said his client, who has worked as an oil driller and framer and faced a maximum of 14 years in prison, displayed an absence of care but did not commit a deliberate act.

After his lawyer finished, Symington turned to the gallery and said, "Sorry to the family."

Before he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, Symington told his wife, who sobbed quietly as his sentence was read, that he loves her. (Penticton Herald)