Four and a half years for 2016 impaired driving deaths

·2 min read

Thirty-eight year Cole Kenneth Archibald MacDonald will serve four and a half years in jail, with a ten year driving ban for the impaired driving deaths of a man and a woman near Chetwynd in June 2016.

MacDonald appeared in person in Dawson Creek Supreme Court Tuesday and made no statements before sentencing.

Justice Michael Brundett imposed the sentence, calling the charges heartbreaking and senseless.

“The fact that Mr. MacDonald killed two people remains a relevant consequence in assessing the gravity of the offences,” said Brundett.

In January, Brundett found MacDonald guilty in Dawson Creek Supreme Court, noting the accused swerved into the oncoming lane, killing the pair in a head on collision along Highway 97 just outside Chetwynd on June 26, 2016.

MacDonald was convicted of two separate charges of impaired driving causing death - one for each victim. Fentanyl and benzodiazepines were determined to be the substances causing the impairment.

Brundett says the victims of the families’ lives have been forever changed, as the consequences of impaired driving are devastating for all Canadians.

“These cases are tragic, as there’s nothing the courts can do to undo, possibly remedy the profound harm so obviously caused to the families,” said Brundett. “To the victims’ family members, and indeed to many in society, the sentence I impose may seem inadequate.”

Impact statements were read in court by victims’ families in attendance and Crown prosecution. Crown prosecutor Matthew Blow sought a six year jail sentence and says outrage surrounding MacDonald's actions is inevitable.

"This offenders' conduct is inexplicable, it's not justified," said Blow. "He was significantly impaired and none the less took the risk of driving, causing a tragic collision that resulted in the deaths of two people on a clear and sunny day."

Road conditions were not a factor, court heard in January.

Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News

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