Chad Scannell will not be able to drive for one year and will pay a fine of $3,000 for an offence under the Highway Traffic Act following a fatal accident that killed two. (corgarashu/Shutterstock)
A 55-year-old man who fell asleep while driving and killed two people has been fined $3,000 and is banned from driving for one year.
On Sept. 19, 2021, Chad Scannell left Port aux Basques and was driving east on the Trans-Canada Highway when his pickup truck crashed head-on into a small car, killing the driver and another occupant. The collision took place just east of the Baie Verte Junction.
An SUV travelling behind the car swerved to avoid the collision and ended up in the ditch. The lone occupant was not injured.
In Grand Falls-Windsor provincial court earlier this month, Judge Andrew Wadden brought down the sentence following Scannell pleading guilty to driving causing death or bodily harm under the Highway Traffic Act. Scannell was not speeding, or impaired by drugs or alcohol.
In his statement to police, Scannell said he didn't recall what happened and didn't remember seeing the other vehicle. He said he heard a bang, grabbed the wheel as his truck spun and didn't let go until he stopped. There were no criminal charges laid.
"I must impose a sentence that will deter others from committing this sort of offence," read's Wadden's sentencing decision. "Drivers must be vigilant about being sufficiently alert to have the ability of driving with due care and attention to others on the road."
The $3,000 fine was on the low side of the charge's range — with $20,000 being the maximum — and was a joint submission of the defence and Crown. The Crown requested a driving prohibition of two years, but Wadden decided to go with half that.
Charles Lushman and his sister-in-law Alice Young died in the accident. Their spouses were in the car and were injured.
In victim impact statements from family, details of the profound grief and sadness were read out, as well as the difficulty in recovering from the incident.
"This sentence should not be taken in any way as putting any value on human life. That is not possible," read's Wadden's decision. "Nothing I can say or do could adequately reflect the value or beauty of the lives that have been lost. It is also not possible for me to provide amends to all those who have been aggrieved by this terrible accident."
At the sentencing hearing, Scannell said he has no words to explain why the accident happened.
In a statement from his sister, she said he carries a cross in his car engraved with "MCTB," for "My Cross To Bear."
"He is sorry for what he has caused for these families," the judge wrote. "He accepts responsibility. His remorse was palpable."