December 16, 2013 - 4:12 PM
'I'M A GOOD DRIVER.... I'VE BEEN DRIVING IN PARKING LOTS ALL MY LIFE.'
KAMLOOPS - A 69-year-old Kamloops woman has been taken off the roads after hitting a pedestrian in a parking lot last year and severing his leg.
Evelyn Jack was charged with driving without due care and attention after an incident in the Lansdowne Village parking lot last December.
"Miss Jack defended this charge on the fact that this was just an accident," said Kamloops provincial court judge Stella Frame. "But it is a different kind of accident."
Frame said mechanical failure wasn't to blame, and she called Jack inattentive and inadvertent after striking Greg Harris, 53, with her van outside Coopers on Dec. 2, 2012. Harris was spending the day with his son when he was standing in front of the store and struck by Jack. She drove into a handicapped parking stall, hit him, pinned him to a pole and severed his leg with her van.
"At the point where he was pinned, the van accelerated on the spot, heating up the tires and leaving a particularly dark mark on the sidewalk," Frame said. "This coincides with Mr. Harris' recollection of lying on the sidewalk watching the tires spin for three to five seconds after he was struck."
Harris spent nearly seven weeks in hospital and lost a portion of his right leg below the knee. He now relies on a prosthetic and continues physical therapy. He remains unable to return to his job as a pump truck driver and is on a disability pension. Jack told both police and the court during her trial in late November that she didn't know for sure what happened. She said her foot must have slipped from the brake to the gas because of muddy footwear.
"The photographs of Ms. Jack of the scene of the accident show her wearing white running shoes which do not appear to have any mud on them," Frame said. "The Crown has proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt."
Crown prosecutor Don Mann recommended a fine and driving prohibition considering her age, lack of a criminal record and severity of Harris' injury.
"There should be some review for her ability to drive," Mann said. "I think that would put the Superintendent on alert."
She maintained her defence during sentencing.
"All I can say was it was an accident," she said. "I'm a good driver."
"I've been driving in parking lots all my life."
Frame sentenced Jack to a $1,000 fine and a six month driving prohibition.
"The results are usually really horrific for any victim, but the consequences of the driver are a reflection of the fact this this is not a deliberate offence."
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