News Local

Man convicted in fatal hit and run in Abbotsford gets 3 years

Keith Fraser, Postmedia Network

(Postmedia file photo)

(Postmedia file photo)

A man who was convicted in a fatal hit and run accident in Abbotsford has been sentenced to three years in jail.

In March, a B.C. Supreme Court jury found Mario Richard Delellis, 47, guilty of one count of dangerous driving causing the death of Dwayne McCormick, 41.

Delellis, who has 58 criminal convictions, many of which are directly related to his drug addiction, was also convicted of one count of leaving the scene of the July 2014 accident on McKenzie Road in Abbotsford.

At the time of the incident, Delellis had been living in a housing complex where McCormick also lived and was being supplied with drugs by McCormick in exchange for Delellis stealing things for McCormick.

On the day of the accident, Delellis and his common-law partner were planning to leave B.C. and return to Ontario and had driven to the home of a man Delellis was residing with at the time to pick up a GST refund cheque.

Court heard that Delellis and the man got into an argument which spilled out into McKenzie Road, where Delellis was parked.

The altercation attracted the attention of other neighbours and residents of the complex, including McCormick, who armed himself with a metal bar and approached Delellis' vehicle, yelling at Delellis to leave the other man alone.

As Delellis' vehicle started to reverse, McCormich struck the vehicle's hood with the metal pipe, causing a dent in the hood.

As McCormick retreated up the driveweay, Delellis first put his vehicle in reverse but then moved forward, striking McCormick. The victim rolled over the hood of the vehicle and fell to the ground, yelling loudly and in obvious pain.

Delellis backed up his vehicle and left the scene and was later captured on a nearby store's surveillance video appearing to examine his vehicle.

McCormick, who had suffered fractures of the shoulder and hip, was rushed to a hospital and underwent surgery. He died during surgery to his hip after experiencing problems with a pre-existing medical condition.

Delellis turned himself into police the next day.

At trial, the accused claimed that it was an accident and that he had acted in self-defence, but those claims were rejected by the jury.

On Tuesday, in his reasons for sentence, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Greyell said it was probable the jury concluded that Delellis was likely in an "enraged state of mind" because of the altercation and because McCormick had struck his vehicle.

The judge found that the accused had deliberately driven into the driveway with the purpose of striking McCormick. He said the defence submission calling for a suspended sentence was not appropriate.

Greyell sentenced McCormick to 30 months in jail for the dangerous driving count and another six months in jail for the hit and run count, for a total of 36 months, or three years in prison. The sentence will be reduced by about five months after the accused receives credit for pre-sentence custody.

The judge also ordered a one-year driving ban for the accused.

kfraser@postmedia.com

twitter.com/keithrfraser