Eight months after his 64-year-old father Robert “Bob” Beland was killed when a drunken driver crashed his truck into their home, Dylan Beland struggles with the awful memories.

“I will never forget the screams I heard that night,” Dylan said while reading a written statement during Ryder Dale Stapp’s sentencing this morning. “It was only when I saw her standing there, soaked in her own blood, that I realized the screaming was coming from my own mom. This is not a memory I should have to carry with me.”

Dylan Beland, speaking to sentencing Judge Larry Killoran, said he relives the night of June 28 “every day of my life.”

“I see the wreckage of my parents’ bedroom when I close my eyes. I feel the pain of broken glass in my knees and I hear the explosion of a three-quarter-ton truck crashing through our home …. Your Honor, I walked through the living room to the kitchen that night at 10:16 p.m. The grandfather clock that my dad was later found under, crushed and barely alive, was forever frozen at 10:17.”

Bob Beland had been asleep in bed when Stapp’s truck plowed through the wall. Elizabeth Martin, Robert Beland’s wife and Dylan’s mother, was injured when thrown out of bed by the impact. Dylan, his fiancee, two dogs and four cats “narrowly escaped a horrific death that night, yet my dad took it all.”


Stapp was celebrating his 25th birthday, drunk and speeding down Humboldt Hill, when he lost control of his truck and it skidded across a parking lot and into the Belands’ house.

Reading from his own prepared statement, Stapp said he hadn’t planned to drive that night because he knew he would be drinking. He didn’t explain why he ended up behind the wheel.

“I drank at the restaurant where me and my friends ate,” Stapp read. “Whether I drank after that I do not recall, as I have no memory of anything that happened after returning to my friend’s house on Humboldt Hill. My next memory is being surrounded by many officers at the hospital where my blood was taken.”

Bystanders said Stapp tried to run away after the wreck but was stopped by people who held him down. Stapp has no recollection of that.

“I didn’t know I had killed someone or even that I had been in an accident until I called my mother around 2:30 a.m. that morning. I am not saying this to minimize my actions or to try to make an excuse. This is simply my reality.”

Elizabeth Martin, also reading from a statement, said she and Bob Beland had been a couple for 45 years and had been married for 37 years. Last week would have been their 38th anniversary, and he was just 14 months from retirement when he was killed.

Not only was his death a personal tragedy for Martin, it has left her deeply in debt and uncertain about the future. The Humboldt Hill house has still not been repaired. Their business, Humboldt Lock and Safe, has been shuttered.     

“I lost my husband, my home, my business, my main source of income, my security,” Martin said.

Martin remembers the music blaring from Stapp’s truck, and hearing men’s voices outside saying “Fuck you.” She later found out her neighbors were holding Stapp down as he tried to escape.

“I’ll never know,” she said, “but I hope Bob died quickly and painlessly.”

Stapp pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and to hit-and-run causing injury. He received the maximum term of 10 years for the manslaughter and an additional one year for the second charge. Dylan Beland told the judge that’s not enough.

“Eleven years, five-and-one-half with good behavior, for the terror and destruction that was visited on my family? Eleven years for the man who killed my dad and left my mom to die? I feel every day the weight of more than 11 years stolen that night. That is a cheap price for my dad’s life.”

He also addressed Stapp, who sat with his head down next to his attorney, Neal Sanders.

“To Stapp, I implore you to spend every birthday for the rest of your life not celebrating in drunken debauchery but remembering and honoring the life you stole from a good person … you owe it to my dad, you owe it to my mom and you owe it to me.”

Stapp, in his statement, said his birthday “will never again be a time for celebration. It will always be a time where I remember when my actions took the life of a good man.”

Since the fatal crash he has been in shock, Stapp said, able only to go to work and stay home with his girlfriend.

“Little can be said about what occurred and the devastation I caused that night. ‘I apologize. I’m sorry.’ While true, these sentiments are clearly insufficient,” he said.

“How do you put back together what has been broken? It can’t be done. If my incarceration will in some ways help heal Mr. Beland’s family and friends, I go willingly. But I doubt it will give them the consolation they deserve.” Beland’s family and friends, along with Stapp’s family and friends, watched as his hands were cuffed behind his back and he was led from the courtroom.

Deputy District Attorney Trent Timm, the prosecutor, said a family tragedy like this “is the sort of thing you don’t recover from. I hope you can try.”