Court hears family’s victim impact statements in crash that killed 20-year-old Manitoba man
Nearly four and a half years after the deadly single-vehicle crash on Henderson Highway, the pain is still raw for James Hayes’ family.
Hayes was 20-years-old when he was killed in a car crash on Oct. 5, 2013.
The woman behind the wheel was Kendra Stuart, who was 19 at the time. She’s been convicted of impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death.
On Monday Hayes’ family shared their pain in court through victim impact statements.
His mother, Dianna Hayes went first and between sobs she told Stuart “because of you our son died in this horrific way…because of you we have pain that’s paralyzing.”
Hayes’ father also took to the stand saying the family doesn’t forgive Stuart.
“You stole our happy, our lives have been shattered,” he said. “You gambled with my son’s life, what gave you that right?”
Hayes’ sister Bonnie Krut also spoke to Stuart saying “nothing can make the daily pain of living without James better.”
The Crown is seeking five years behind bars and a 7.5 year driving ban, citing Stuart’s reckless driving the night of the crash, the fact she was speeding and that no one in the vehicle was wearing a seatbelt.
The Crown said Stuart also tried to mislead police the night of the crash by telling them she was trying to avoid hitting an animal that darted across the road.
The defense is seeking two years behind bars saying Stuart is remorseful for the crash and is a very low risk to reoffend.
Stuart also took the stand. When she got up to speak most of Hayes’ family members and loved ones left the courtroom, but she still spoke to them directly.
“The worst mistake I’ve ever made in my life…was getting behind the wheel that night,” she said. “I look at myself with disgust all the time…I will do something with my life to honour him.”
Stuart will be sentenced on April 5, 2018, exactly four and a half years after the deadly crash.
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