An Edmonton court heard victim impact statements Friday from the loved ones of a Fort McMurray woman who was killed in a crash May 2016.
On Friday morning, the judge in the dangerous driving case threw out an application to revoke the accused’s guilty plea.
Todd Lambert, 51, admitted to being behind the wheel of a car that slammed into the back of Natalie Anne Hawkins’ SUV at a speed of more than 200 kilometres an hour.
An agreed statement of facts stated Lambert was medically forbidden from driving at the time due to seizures.
Lambert originally pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death, but has since been fighting to change his plea, saying he had a seizure before getting behind the wheel, and that he has no recollection of the crash.
“I don’t even know how I left Bruderheim. I don’t know how I got into my car and went for a drive,” Lambert said.
The judge dismissed the application Friday morning and the case is moving ahead with a sentencing hearing.
Hawkins’ family was relieved by the decision.
“This is part of the closure I need to help me move on,” Natalie’s twin sister, Nicole Hawkins, said.
Nicole and Natalie’s mother, Hilda Hawkins, read their victim impact statements to the court.
“I finally had a chance to tell everybody – for the record – how it feels to lose a loved child,” Hilda said.
“I’ve been in counselling since this happened,” Nicole added. “It’s kind of thrown me into turmoil, losing a twin.”
The Crown is asking for three years in prison followed by a five-year driving prohibition.
Lambert is representing himself in court after firing two lawyers. He told court Friday the case has taken too long and invokes the Jordan Decision.
The Crown argued neither a Jordan application nor a NCR (Not Criminally Responsible) application should be heard at a sentencing hearing.
Hawkins, a 43-year-old wife and mother of two, was driving to her newly rented home in Fort Saskatchewan when her SUV was rear-ended. Her family just relocated from Fort McMurray, fleeing the wildfires there.
“She was an amazing person. She had a smile that would brighten any room in the house. People loved her,” her twin sister Nicole Hawkins previously told Global News.
“She would go out of her way to help anybody.”
The judge reserved his decision on sentencing until Feb. 21.
“Final closure for me, I don’t think it’s ever going to be there – until the day I die,” Hilda said.
Lambert said he’s already planning to appeal the court’s decision.