UPDATE: Keith Dunford facing two years in jail after the death of Ashley Richards

REGINA – The man who drove into and killed a young flag person three years ago has been sentenced to two years in jail.

After his sentence is served, Keith Dunford is also facing a three year driving ban for the death of the 18-year-old highway worker.

READ MORE: Keith Dunford found guilty in death of young flag person

Dunford was found guilty in October of Dangerous Driving Causing Death.

The 47-year-old had been looking at paperwork for several kilometers before his SUV struck 18-year-old Ashley Richards in 2012.

Richards’ former employer and colleagues have attended all the court proceedings and said on Friday that they’re happy to see the case come to a close.

“There are no winners. He could get 20 years and that’s not going to bring Ashley back, ” said Glen Willick, Richards’ former manager at HJR Asphalt.  ” Is he sorry? Absolutely. But a message had to be sent…Is it enough?  I don’t know what enough is.”

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There’s no minimum sentence for dangerous driving causing death, but there is a maximum of 14 years.

Both the Crown and defence agreed Dunford’s case differed from similar crimes, since there was no alcohol involved, he didn’t flee the scene and had no criminal record prior.

“We had asked for three years and a five year driving prohibition, but it comes down to we’ll look at the decision , access it, and after that we’ll decide what we’re going to do,” said Crown prosecutor Mitchell Miller.

The judge also considered the fact that Dunford ignored 13 kilometers of signage, was speeding, and admitted to being distracted by his immigration paperwork.

A key factor in her decision was deterrence, and preventing a similar tragedy in the future.

But even before the ruling, the province tightened up rules in construction zones, and companies have even taken their own steps to keep staff more safe.

“The signage has not doubled, but there’s a lot more.  We have rumble strips, photo radar, and more radar boards out, so we’ve invested a lot of money,” added Willick. “But how do you put a price on a life, right?”

Dunford’s lawyer had argued for a conditional sentence, and while the judge acknowledged he is low risk to reoffend, said probation would be inappropriate given the severity of the offence.

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Still, Dunford’s defence team plans to appeal both his initial conviction and the sentence handed down Friday.

with files from The Canadian Press

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