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Kamloops woman gets 18 months in prison for drunk driving crash that claimed a life

October 18, 2016 - 11:30 AM

KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops woman who pleaded guilty to crashing her car and killing a passenger while she was impaired has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Yvonne Wilson, 48, was so distraught in Kamloops Supreme Court yesterday, Oct. 17, her lawyer had to enter the plea on her behalf.

Wilson was in tears and visibly shaken as Crown prosecutor Chris Balison told the court about the night the crash happened, more than two years ago.

On June 25, 2014, Wilson and the passengers in her car had been consuming alcohol for most of the day. Around 6 p.m., Wilson was driving her Dodge Caravan in the Paul Lake area.

Everyone in the car agreed to head to the city to buy more alcohol. The vehicle was coming down the road toward Highway 5, where the speed limit is 80 kilometres per hour. The road then veers into a series of turns, at which point signs warn drivers to slow to 50 km/h.

Balison told the court Wilson’s passengers were warning her she was going too fast and an expert believes she was travelling between 104 and 107 km/h.

The van hit a gravel shoulder and Wilson lost control. She over corrected and the van flipped, rolling 134 metres.

As the vehicle rolled, one of the passengers, Barry Charlie, was ejected from his seat. He suffered a “significant head wound,” Balison said. Charlie was pronounced dead at the scene.

Wilson's blood was tested and a blood-alcohol reading of 0.311 came back, nearly four times the legal limit. 

Balison asked for a sentence of two years less a day, but it was defence lawyer Sheldon Tate’s submissions Judge Hope Hyslop agreed with. Tate asked for an 18 month prison term.

“You can observe how heavy it weighs upon her conscience,” Tate said.

He detailed Wilson’s upbringing and adult life, including the murder of her mother when she was five-years-old and the death of her father, who was caught inside a trailer fire when she was in her 20s.

“It’s a wonder this lady has been able to make it as far as she has without something like this happening,” Tate said.

Although Wilson initially quit drinking after the rollover and began attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, Tate says she has relapsed a few times.

Hyslop offered Wilson the opportunity to speak and although barely audible through tears, she apologized.

“This is a really tragic thing that happened. I want to say sorry,” Wilson said. “I didn’t mean to hurt anybody. I’m sorry for that.”

Hyslop sentenced her to 18 months in prison with a two-year driving prohibition. She cried as she hugged her boyfriend and said goodbye, before she was placed in handcuffs and escorted from the courtroom a sheriff.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or call 250-319-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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