Chase Donaldson was sentenced today to just over two and a half years in prison for dangerous driving causing death and failing to remain at the scene of the accident.
Donaldson hit and killed 22-year-old Kiera-Leigh Carlson the night of April 30, 2010 on Aberdeen Road when he swerved across the oncoming lane and onto the gravel shoulder where she was walking to work. The judge at his trial concluded Donaldson was racing with his brother-in-law and was going too fast to stay in his lane on a corner.
Supreme Court Justice Frank Cole decided on 14 months for the first charge and 18 for the second, for a total of 32 months. Following his release, the accused will have a three year prohibition on his drivers license.
Crown lawyer Iain Currie said Donaldson's moral culpability is exceedingly high, and ranks just below a driver who gets behind the wheel while impaired.
"Mr. Donaldson's driving the night of April 30 was a choice," Currie said. "There was no good reason for him to be driving that fast."
Donaldson issued a formal apology today in court.
"I've thought about (the accident) every day since," Donaldson said with a shaky voice often interrupted by sobs. "As a father, I love my family more than anything, and I can't imagine the pain of never seeing my child again."
"I wish I could go back and change what happened, but I can't," he said. "I will have to live with that for the rest of my life, and I will never forgive myself for what happened to Kiera."
Carlson's father, Len, later said that Donaldson continues to refuse responsibility for what happened.
"He keeps saying he's sorry for what happened to Kiera, he's not apologizing for what (he) did to Kiera," he said.
Donaldson's lawyers say the accident will serve as an eye-opener for the community on reckless driving. They say it will inspire drivers to slow down and watch out for pedestrians.
"It's nice to think this will have a positive impact," Len said, though realistically, he says people will eventually forget about what happened.
Carlson's mother, Bev, read a victim impact statement to the court, her voice affected by heaves of emotion, but still strong. She listed the questions that consumed her after finding out her youngest daughter had been hit by a car and left in a ditch.
"Why would someone leave her there? Was she in pain? How am I going to get through this? How do I shut my brain off so I can sleep? When will I stop crying?"
She said her nights are filled with nightmares in which her daughter's death is often replayed.
"I see her beautiful platinum blonde hair flying through the air," Bev said. "She calls out for help, but I can't do anything."
She said she lives in constant fear for her family, and that whenever she hears of an accident, she calls her other two daughters to make sure they're OK.
"I will never know Kiera's husband or her babies," Bev said. "Every morning, I think, I won't see my baby girl today."
"(Donaldson) could spend the rest of his life in jail, it's still not going to bring her back," she said after the trial was over.