VANCOUVER – Crown counsel is asking for eight to nine years in the sentencing for a man convicted of dangerous and impaired driving causing death.
Cory Sater was convicted in January after a long trial related to his actions three years ago.
Surveillance images taken from a bar in February 2011 showed Sater drinking heavily. He then got behind the wheel of an SUV and hit Charlene Reaveley and Lorraine Cruz as they were standing on the Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam.
Both women were killed. Reaveley, a mother of four, had pulled over to help Cruz and her boyfriend who had been in a minor fender-bender.
Crown counsel Chris McPherson called Sater’s actions in court today the “act of remarkable selfishness” and that his offenses are on “par with manslaughter and the only thing worse is murder.”
The evidence, the Crown said, is very strong. Referring to the bar’s video surveillance which clearly showed how many drinks Sater had at the bar that evening before getting into his SUV and that he didn’t have a valid driver’s license.
According to the Crown, Sater did not have a license when he ran down and killed the two victims because of failing to pay previous fines and due to his driving history which included several speeding infractions and two 24-hour prohibitions.
More than 50 people packed the courtroom on Monday to take part in the victim impact statements made by family and friends of the two women killed in the accident.
Reavely’s mother, Mary Ogilvie, was already in tears before making her statement. In it she said, “Charlene was my only child. I am a mother now but I do not have my child. Everything near and dear to me was taken away that night.”
She went on to say that since her daughter’s death, she wakes up screaming and is haunted by memories of Charlene being burned. As a result of her daughter’s death, Mary said she suffers from depression, nightmares, anxiety and is on medication.
Reavely’s husband Dan was unable to read his statement and instead, had his sister read it to the courtroom. In it he told the court how he and Reavely were high school sweethearts and that a “loss like this was like losing your sight after 30 years.” He said he had “contemplated taking my own life but our children need me.” Dan also suffers from several post-traumatic symptoms since his wife’s death.
The health issues suffered by family members and friends following the death of the two victims range from seizures, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to depression, pain and nightmares. The majority of them are on some type of medication to deal with the emotional and physical fallout from the accident.
Family and friends of the victims said they would like to see him get seven years but know it’s unlikely.
“My husband and I were there [at the scene of the crash] and we are very different people since the accident,” said Kimberly deBenedictis, a close friend to Reaveley.
“Ideally I’d like [Sater] to get seven to 10 years in prison but that may not be realistic so we’re hoping for a minimum of four years.”
Sater pleaded guilty in October 2013 to leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
The judge is expected to hand down a sentence on Thursday morning if counsel is available.
© Shaw Media, 2014