Drunk-driving victim's family shocked after driver arrested again

The sister and daughter of a Nova Scotia woman killed in a 2011 drunk-driving crash say they're disgusted to learn the driver was arrested again and charged with impaired driving this week.

Kevin Charles Purcell, 36, of Beaver Bank, N.S., faces three charges related to this week's crash in Dartmouth, including driving while impaired and driving while disqualified. Police say Purcell was arrested after a driver crashed into a utility pole Thursday night. None of the charges has been tested in court.

Rosanna Coffill's sister Tammy Coffill had been dating Purcell for a year and was in his car in 2011 when he stole gas and fled police, crashing into a guardrail. Tammy died at the scene.

'He is a monster'

"I'm still devastated over the loss of my sister," Coffill told CBC News on Friday. She said for Purcell, getting in trouble is "just in his blood." 

Purcell got a six-year prison sentence for the fatal 2011 crash and was released on day parole in May 2016. His full sentence ends in October. 

"He is a monster. That is the name I give him and I always thought of him from the first day I met him," Coffill said. "He will never learn. He will pretend to be good for so long, just so [it] gets him where he wants: back out on the street."

Kiersten Mitchell, Tammy's daughter, learned Purcell was arrested from a friend in Halifax. Mitchell lives in New Brunswick and spent much of Friday afternoon talking with her four siblings. One of Tammy Coffill's daughters celebrated a birthday Friday. The youngest of Coffill's children is 17.

Call for stiffer sentences for drunk drivers

"It's shocking. It's appalling. It's disgusting," Mitchell said. "I'm not impressed with our judicial system. I wasn't in the beginning though, with his light, six-year sentence. Obviously my mom doesn't have six years left of her life."

She said a crime like the one Purcell committed in 2011 merits something more like a second-degree murder charge, rather than impaired driving causing death.

"Hopefully they see that he's not able to rehabilitate himself. I hope he gets put away for a long time, honestly," she said. "Obviously I'm a little biased, because he took someone very important away from me. But all the victims are important to somebody."

Mitchell described her mother as a "lively spirit" who rose above a tough upbringing in Halifax's Mulgrave Park. "She loved life, despite all of her hardships. She was very outgoing and happy-go-lucky. She didn't let anything bring her down — a super-strong woman." 

Purcell was expected to appear in court Friday to face the latest charges.