Accused drunk driver in crash that killed mom, daughter appears in court

Accused drunk driver in crash that killed mom, daughter appears in court

The man accused of driving drunk and killing a London mom and her five-year-old daughter made his first court appearance Tuesday in St. Thomas. 

Hubert Domonchuk, 53, faces numerous charges including two of impaired driving causing death in relation to the 401 crash that took the life of Sarah Payne and her daughter Freya. 

The woman's six-year-old son, William Payne, was also in the vehicle and suffered serious injuries. 

Accused has not retained a lawyer

The Cambridge man walked to the front of the courtroom using a walker, wheezing audibly.

Domoncuk said he had not yet retained a lawyer and that he was waiting for the disclosure of documents that make up the Crown's case. Lawyers in the courtroom indicated the Crown's case made up a three-inch pile of papers. 

Justice of the Peace Cheri Emrich ordered Domonchuk to get a lawyer and to appear again in court on November 28. 

Domonchuk said he had physiotherapy appointments but would be able to appear in person. 

Victims remembered as kind, generous

On Aug 29, Domonchuk's truck crossed the median of Hwy 401 near Dutton and slammed into the Payne family van. 

Sarah Payne was an occupational therapist at Parkwood Hospital who was remembered at a memorial service as a kind and generous person.

She was well-known in the community, and had ties to Prince Edward Island and Rondeau Park. 

Payne's husband, Michael, is a doctor at Parkwood and has been left alone to care for his son, who survived the accident.

In the wake of the crash, a petition for the barriers online collected more than 3,500 signatures; a paper petition was delivered to Queen's Park with more than 3,000 signatures.

The province has committed to installing high-tension cables along Highway 401 between Tilbury and Ridgetown. The Paynes were killed further east.