|The son of former Newfoundland premier Brian Tobin, John "Jack" Tobin, leaves Ottawa court with his mother Jodean and father Brian December 25, 2010. (TONY CALDWELL/QMI Agency)
OTTAWA - The son of former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Brian Tobin spent Christmas Day with his family, released on $100,000 bond after his best friend was run over on the top floor of an Ottawa parking garage early on Christmas Eve.
John "Jack" Tobin, 24, walked into the courtroom Chrismas morning dressed in a green golf shirt and jeans.
The mood was sombre -- a stark contrast to the festive mood throughout Ottawa as people celebrated Christmas.
Tobin stared straight ahead and listened to the charges against him -- impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death and driving while having more than 80 mgs of alcohol in his blood causing death.
He appeared before a justice of the peace. His lawyer Mark Ertel was by his side.
Details of the evidence and bail conditions are under a publication ban, which is normal at bail hearings.
Jack's mother, Jodean Tobin, sat beside her husband and two other children, breaking down in tears throughout the hearing. When she embraced her son after he was released, her tears turned into sobs, which almost drowned out her husband while he paused outside the courthouse to express his family's condolences.
"Our family wants to express Jack's deep, deep remorse for the loss of his friend Alex and to express our deepest sympathies again for his family, his mother, his father, and for his sister. It's a tragedy for everybody involved," Brian Tobin said.
Alex Zolpis, 24, of Ottawa fell out of a rented pickup truck around 3 a.m. Friday morning and became lodged underneath. When paramedics arrived, they pronounced the victim dead at the scene.
Police say the man behind the wheel of the rented truck had been drinking.
Cops did not confirm the victim's identity, but Brian Tobin -- who served as a prominent federal Liberal cabinet minister in the mid-90s -- did confirm Zolpis was the victim in a statement Christmas Eve.
Ertel said Zolpis was Jack Tobin's "best" friend, while his dad said the two both attended Ottawa's Lisgar Collegiate just around the corner from the courthouse, graduating in 2005.
The two friends also attended Dalhousie University in Halifax together.
Garage staff told QMI Agency no one was working when Zolpis fell out of the truck.
Several witnesses were questioned, Ottawa police said Friday.
Tobin's next court appearance is Jan. 27.
-- With files by Kelly Roche