An Edmonton lawyer has pleaded guilty to a single count of impaired driving in the hit and run death of a teenage girl two years ago.
Shane Stevenson entered his plea Monday in Court of Queen's Bench before Justice Peter Michalyshyn.
Stevenson was set to stand trial on a series of impaired driving charges in the April 2018 collision that killed 16-year-old Chloe Wiwchar.
The charges he had faced included impaired driving causing death, being impaired while causing an accident that led to a death, and failing to stop for an accident where death occurred.
Stevenson, who formerly worked with Dentons LLP in Edmonton, had initially been charged with three counts: impaired driving causing death, having a blood-alcohol level over 80 mg causing death and hit and run causing death.
Around 11 p.m. on April 15, 2018, Wiwchar was struck by a pickup truck on Kingsway, near the intersection with Tower Road.
According to an agreed statement of facts, she was struck by Stevenson's Ford F-150 as she crossed the marked crosswalk with amber lights flashing. Stevenson did not stop or slow down.
The force of the impact threw Wiwchar into the air. She hit the centre median and slid more than 25 metres. She suffered multiple blunt-force injuries and died in hospital less than an hour later.
The collision caused significant front-end damage to Stevenson's truck. As he drove away from the scene, pieces of metal dragged across the asphalt, causing sparks to fly.
A fragment of Wiwchar's jacket was later recovered from the torn metal.
An off-duty officer who had stopped his vehicle for Wiwchar when she was in the crosswalk followed the pickup truck, providing information to 911 dispatch.
Several police cars and a police helicopter canvassed the area and Stevenson was eventually arrested in an alley in the area of 107th Avenue and 103rd Street.
When he was arrested, Stevenson had a strong smell of alcohol in his breath, bloodshot eyes and was unsteady on his feet, according to the agreed statement of facts.
He provided two breath samples. The lowest reading was for 170 milligrams of alcohol in 100 ml of blood.
According to reconstruction of the collision, Stevenson was travelling between 69 and 83 km/h at the time of impact.
Stevenson remains out on bail. His sentencing is set for Oct. 14.
Wiwchar's mother, Holly Lucier, gasped and began sobbing as Stevenson admitted his guilt before the court Monday.
During the proceedings, Stevenson took off his mask and appeared to mouth the words, "I'm sorry" to Lucier across the courtroom.
She cringed and shook her head.
Speaking to reporters outside after court adjourned, Lucier said an apology from Stevenson will never be enough to make amends for the loss her family has suffered.
'Too late to be sorry'
"He tried to tell me that he was sorry and I and I had to tell him that it's too late to be sorry," she said through tears.
"There's no being sorry today. And so for him to stand in court and take his mask down and tell me that he was sorry for killing my daughter is not sorry. That's not remorse.
"And he may have completed a lot of rehabilitation over this last period of time, but that does not equate to remorse when you make a family wait as long as we have to hear guilty for our child's death."
She wants to see him punished to the fullest extent of the law, but she expects he will only serve three to five years.
"Drinking and driving, we all know that it's wrong, but it goes on," she said.
"We're losing four lives a day in Canada. And Canada's laws are nowhere near appropriate for the sentencing for DUIs causing death.
"This is not appropriate sentencing. We need harsher laws and we need a government that wants to fight for those laws."
Chloe's father, Michael Wiwchar, said he may never forgive Stevenson. He takes solace in his four surviving children but remains bitter.
He said his life since his daughter's death has been a "constant nightmare."
He said he has lost complete faith in the justice system and finds little relief in Stevenson's guilty plea.
"It's been two and a half [years] and I'm just as angry as I was the day of," he said.
"It's still like yesterday ... it's a bit of a relief but it still doesn't change anything."
He said he doesn't believe Stevenson has true remorse for his actions. He blames Stevenson for "dragging the case" out for years.
"I don't care how many times he says, 'I'm sorry.' I don't care ... where was that 900 and some days ago?"
Every court appearance, every passing season, every family gathering is a reminder of his daughter's death, he said.
He said he wants her to be remembered for who she was — a happy, vibrant girl with dreams of becoming a social worker— not how she died.
He hopes her case inspires change and a strong sentence for Stevenson.
"I would like to see an increase in penalty for drinking and driving, and not just because it's my daughter, but for the next family that has to go through this."