Canada Impaired driver gets three years in prison for crash that killed nursing student

18:53  07 december  2017
18:53  07 december  2017 Source:   leaderpost.com

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With their wedding around the corner, nursing student Adrienne Gardiner and her fiance Eric Sollosy had plans to move up north so Gardiner could start her career.

Instead, at 1 a.m. on Oct. 8, 2016, Sollosy looked into his rearview mirror to see a speeding Dodge Journey bearing down on them as they were stopped at a red light at the corner of Albert Street and 25th Avenue.

Moments later, Gardiner was dead.

“We had a beautiful dream about life together … but in the end that’s all it was — a dream,” Sollosy said, reading from an emotional victim impact statement written for the Wednesday sentencing for the Journey’s driver, Brendan K. Sugar.

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Sugar, 29, pleaded guilty to driving with a blood-alcohol level exceeding .08 causing Gardiner’s death, and two counts of .08 causing bodily harm to Sollosy and to a passenger in Sugar’s vehicle.

After hearing submissions, Regina Provincial Court Judge Pat Reis agreed to impose the three-year prison term and five-year driving prohibition jointly proposed by Crown and defence counsel.

Crown prosecutor David Belanger told the court Sollosy was driving a Kia Spectra 5, his fiancee in the passenger seat, when they were rear-ended hard enough to propel the car into the intersection. Both were seatbelted in, but Gardiner (previously identified as Daigneault) suffered catastrophic injuries, and an EMS crew discovered her heart had stopped.

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Belanger said EMS and hospital staff tried for close to an hour and a half to restart her heart, but were unsuccessful.

The investigation would later reveal Sugar had been going 110 kilometres per hour in a 50 kph zone two seconds prior to the crash.

Court heard he had been drinking at a party when he decided to get behind the wheel. His blood-alcohol level was measured at .18, more than twice the legal driving limit. He had no criminal record.

Defence lawyer Adryan Toth — who, along with Michael Tochor, represented Sugar — said his client took responsibility for the offence from the start, providing an admission during his initial statement to police. Toth said Sugar has made attempts since to confront the role of alcohol in his life, having completed several treatment programs. He has also been seeing a counsellor and is speaking regularly with an elder on his First Nation, court heard.

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Sugar broke down during Sollosy’s victim impact statement, sobbing as the other man recounted graphic details of the collision and Gardiner’s death.

“I wish I could go back and change what happened …,” Sugar later said. “I’m just truly sorry for what happened that night.”

Sollosy and other loved ones described Gardiner as smart, beautiful, compassionate and caring. Court heard she put her nursing course on hold to help care for her dying grandfather and to be there for her son, who has some challenges.

Sollosy told the court the crash not only cost him the woman he loved but her son, whom he had come to love as his own. Court heard the boy is being raised up north by Gardiner’s family, with whom Sollosy no longer has contact.

Sollosy described sleepless nights, anxiety and the need to eventually move from the home he’d shared with Gardiner, filled as it was with memories of her and the life they once had. And he professed to living with the what-ifs and the worry that he’d failed her.

Reis took a moment prior to sentencing Sugar to speak directly to Sollosy on that point.

“None of this is your fault,” he said. “It’s (Sugar’s) fault. Understand?”

Reis went on to acknowledge Sugar’s remorse and the steps he’s taken to address the cause of what the judge termed a “senseless tragedy.”

hpolischuk@postmedia.com

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