Man sentenced after fatal New Year’s day crash

A Yukoner will serve a one-year conditional sentence after a New Year's crash that killed his brother-in-law. Trevor Castagner pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving in Yukon Supreme Court Monday.

A Yukoner will serve a one-year conditional sentence after a New Year’s crash that killed his brother-in-law.

Trevor Castagner pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving in Yukon Supreme Court Monday.

His sentence includes a curfew for the first six months. He will not be able to drive for one year and is prohibited from drinking alcohol for that time. He must also complete 75 hours of community service.

The courtroom was packed earlier this week, with some people forced to stand, as Justice Leigh Gower heard the facts and sentenced the man.

The sentence was a joint recommendation coming from both lawyers.

Castagner, 40, originally faced charges that included impaired driving causing the death of Tim Bierlmeier. But he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

Castagner was operating his snowmobile in the early-morning hours of New Year’s Day 2011, driving home from a party.

Bierlmeier, his brother-in-law and friend of 15 years, was sitting behind him.

The court heard how the snow machine took a curve to the left up to Castagner’s home in Crestview.

Castagner felt a “sudden and unexpected weight shift by the passenger,” his lawyer Vince Michaels said.

Perhaps the man lost his grip or his footing, the lawyer suggested, but no one is sure exactly what happened.

The shift in weight caused the snow machine to roll and Bierlmeier struck his head on a parked car as they were passing.

Bierlmeier was 40.

The court heard Castagner had three drinks over dinner on New Year’s Eve.

Sometime after midnight he was home when he got called to come to a second party and drove there on his snowmobile. He said he had two more beers there.

A witness told police Castagner appeared sober when the two men left on the snowmobile around 5 a.m., his lawyer said.

Castagner agrees he had drinks that night but is not admitting to any sort of impairment as the legal cause of the crash, Michaels told the court.

Gower heard that the snowmobile was travelling in and out of the ditches on its way back to Castagner’s home.

This was done “playfully” Michaels said. Both men were experienced snowmobilers, comfortable travelling this way, he said.

Michaels also agreed that when the snowmobile approached the curve before the house, it was going faster than the 50-km speed limit. Again, both men were confident on the machine, he said.

“All seemed well” until the crash, Michaels told the court.

A wildlife enforcement officer with Environment Canada in British Columbia, Castagner lived and worked in the Yukon for most of his life. He moved to Vancouver in May 2012.

The driving ban that comes as part of the sentence may mean he has to take a leave of absence from work, Michaels said.

The lawyer pointed to 32 letters of support filed with the court, which describe his client as someone who is ordinarily safety oriented.

Castagner has no criminal record or history of bad driving, he said.

What happened has been difficult for the entire family.

Castagner would like the chance to participate in some sort of victim/offender mediation program, Michaels said.

Gower agreed. The judge said what happened appeared to be out of character for Castagner.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Yukon NDP leader Kate White, surrounded by socially distanced candidates, announces her platform in Whitehorse on March 29. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Kate White and the Yukon NDP Platform

A detailed look at the NDP platform and Kate White’s leadership campaign this election

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read