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Central Alberta man acquitted of manslaughter after hit-and-run

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Jason Kelley Burns will be sentenced Friday for a hit-and-run after he struck and killed Brendon McDonald. A jury acquitted Burns of manslaughter in the case.

A Sundre man who was found not guilty last week of manslaughter in the 2022 hit-and-run and killing of a 34-year-old in Mountain View County will learn Friday when he will be sentenced for the less serious offense of hit-and-run, court officials said.

Jason Kelley Burns was acquitted on May 23 following a trial by a 12-member jury in the Calgary Court of King's Bench.

Brendon McDonald, also a Sundre resident, was killed on March 1, 2002, when a vehicle driven by Burns backed into him, the court reportedly heard.

The jury found Burns guilty of hit-and-run in connection with the fatal accident.

Specifically, he was found guilty under section 320.16 of the Criminal Code, which states: “An offence is committed by anyone who operates a means of transport and, at the time of operating the means of transport, knows that the means of transport has been involved in an accident with a person or another means of transport, or is indifferent as to whether this has been the case, and who, without good reason, fails to stop the means of transport, to give his name and address, or, if a person has been injured or appears to require assistance, to offer assistance.”

Paragraph 3 of section 320.16 states: “An offence is committed by a person who commits an offence under subsection (1) and who, at the time of committing the offence, knows that the accident resulted in the death of another person or bodily harm to another person whose death resulted, or who is indifferent as to whether this was the case.”

An RCMP news release issued shortly after the fatal crash said officers responded to a 911 call about a fatal motor vehicle crash in a rural residential area on Range Road 43 outside of Sundre.

“The preliminary investigation indicates that an altercation occurred between two adult males in which the suspect struck the victim with a pickup truck while the victim was reversing. The pickup truck then fled the scene,” the press release states.

Burns will remain in custody until he appears in the Court of King's Bench in Calgary this Friday.