6.5-year sentence for man who drove impaired by cannabis, killing Oakville mother

Click to play video: 'Kevin Hyde found guilty of impaired driving, dangerous driving causing the death of an Oakville mother'
Kevin Hyde found guilty of impaired driving, dangerous driving causing the death of an Oakville mother
WATCH ABOVE: As Catherine McDonald reports, the judge rejected the defence that Kevin Hyde suffered a medical episode and lost consciousness when he struck and killed Louise Whiten – Nov 1, 2022

Kevin Hyde stood up in a Burlington courtroom on Tuesday morning and apologized to the family of Louise Whiten for the pain he has caused since the day in December 2020 when he struck and killed the 51-year-old wife and mother of two while impaired by drugs.

“As I stand here before you today, I realize there are no words I could say that could possibly erase the pain, anguish and complete loss that you all felt on Dec. 3, 2020,” Hyde said, addressing the family directly.

“I can only express to you my sincere apologies as I’ve caused this tragedy. My remorse and guilt is tremendous and I will carry this with me throughout my life. I would never intentionally harm another human being. Not a day goes by in my life that I don’t wish it was I who had died that day. I ask that you accept my apology. Forgive me.”

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Minutes later, Madam Justice Anne-Marie Calsavara sentenced Hyde to six-and-a-half years in prison and a 10-year driving prohibition after finding him guilty of impaired driving by cannabis causing death and dangerous driving causing death last November, after a lengthy trial.

The sentence will be served concurrently on both counts.

Calsavara noted that while Hyde, 60, has shown remorse, he did not accept criminal responsibility for the deadly crash.

Instead, Hyde blamed a medical episode called a “syncope,” which he argued caused him to momentarily lose consciousness. The judge rejected that defence and found impairment by cannabis was the cause of the collision.

Whiten, a speech pathologist, was walking her puppy Zack along a pedestrian path next to Lakeshore Boulevard in Oakville on Dec. 3, 2020, when Hyde’s speeding Nissan Sentra left the roadway and hit Whiten and the dog. Both were killed.

The judge found that Hyde was travelling at 90 km/hour in a 50 km/hour zone just five seconds prior to the collision, and only took his foot off the accelerator briefly before striking Whiten in an effort to avoid her.

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Calsavara noted that in addition to smoking cannabis, Hyde also drank beer that day, though she noted that beer played little role in his impairment.

She added that his prior driving record shows a sustained pattern of reckless disregard for the safety of others on the road. Court heard Hyde has an extensive driving record between 1981 and 2016 that includes 16 convictions, mostly for speeding.

“A message must be sent to those who similarly choose to risk the lives and safety of the public by consuming drugs or alcohol,” the judge said, noting that sentences for impaired driving have increased in the last decade or so.

“This upward trend and approach is equally applicable to impaired by drug cases.”

Hyde, who was released from the police station after his arrest at the crash scene, has spent no time in jail. He was taken into custody after the sentence was handed down. The family, however, believes he will appeal and could be released from custody shortly as he awaits his appeal to be heard.

Outside court, Whiten’s widower, two sons, two sisters, and other extended family hugged and cried. Ching Mac, Whiten’s widower, said the sentence won’t change their lives.

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“I’m glad that it’s over, well almost over, depending on appeals,” Mac said.

“It just doesn’t fix anything. … I still lost my wife, my kids still lost their mother. The extended family lost their sister, sister-in-law and so on. … No one should have to live through this.”

Mac said he is hoping the appeal process will be quick and that it will be rejected.

He also said he doesn’t accept Hyde’s apology.

“Mr. Hyde read a statement in court apologizing and showing remorse to our family and asked for forgiveness and I don’t buy it. I don’t accept it,” he said.

“I think if you are really remorseful about this, you wouldn’t have gone through court and dragged the family through this for two-and-a-half years. If you want to take accountability, own up and plea. That would’ve been the right thing to do. The decent thing to do. So I don’t buy that one bit.”

Paula Cooke, Whiten’s older sister, said she is upset that Hyde will be eligible for parole in a few years.

“Yes, he’s been given six years and I’d love to see him in jail for six years, but he won’t be,” she said.

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“And that’s what bothers me the most — that he only has to serve a third of the sentence and he can get parole.”

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