WATCH: The man who started a chain of events that lead to a devastating car crash has pleaded guilty to careless driving. The victim’s parents tell Fletcher Kent the penalty wasn’t hard enough.
EDMONTON – An Edmonton-area man has pleaded guilty and was sentenced Monday morning for his role in a March 2013 crash that sent a young woman into a coma.
Andrew Chapman, 27, pleaded guilty to careless driving and was handed a $2,000 fine on Monday. That is the maximum possible fine for this type of crime.
Court heard Chapman was trying to change lanes on the Yellowhead, and was focused on a speeding car next to him. He shoulder-checked, not seeing Renaye Wade’s vehicle — which had broken down on the road — until it was too late.
He hit her stalled vehicle from behind, sending it into the path of a semi.
The now-19-year-old spent 34 days in a coma, and has been recovering from broken bones and serious brain damage ever since.
Chapman will keep his licence. Through tears, he apologized to the Wade family saying:
“I wish you could go on living your life — a happy normal life. I’m deeply sorry for that. I truly am.”
“Thinking about it, day in and day out, certainly takes a toll on somebody. And certainly it did on Mr. Chapman,” his lawyer, Shawn Gerstel said.
The Wades feel Chapman’s sentence does not adequately reflect the toll this crash has taken on them.
“My daughter will never be 100 per cent because somebody didn’t pay attention in a moment. They were distracted and not focusing on the road,” said Renaye’s mother, Tammy Wade.
“We need to change our laws. Careless driving and distracted driving needs to become a more serious offence.”
Renaye Wade also shared her thoughts in court, saying: “careless driving needs to carry a heavier penalty rather than a traffic violation.”
She plans to meet with her MLA next week, in hopes of changing the laws to allow for jail time or restitution.
With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News
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