A courageous Delburne mother painfully recalled the last few seconds of her daughter’s life after their vehicle had been smashed into by a man who fled the scene, a Red Deer court heard Friday.
Kathy Wilson recalled that her 15-year-old daughter Cassandra (Casey) said “Oh God mom” just a second before Neil Doucet’s pickup crashed into them the evening of April 19, 2008.
The crash occurred on Hwy 595 about 10 km east of Delburne.
“I’ve been given a life long sentence to remember my daughter’s last words,” Kathy told Red Deer provincial court Judge John Holmes while reading her well-thought-out victim impact statement.
“I’ve never felt so alone in my life,” Kathy said as her husband, Jack, hugged her at the lectern.
Stunned and injured by the impact, Kathy remembers hearing Casey moan.
She felt a faint pulse but couldn’t free her daughter from the front passenger seat where she was trapped from the waist down.
A five-year member of the volunteer Delburne Fire Department, Kathy said she tried to administer first aid but her daughter died.
Doucet was sentenced to 28 months in jail satisfied by time served awaiting disposition of his case.
A truck driver with a Class 1 licence, Doucet was suspended from driving for three years and must surrender a sample of his DNA.
Crown prosecutor Anders Quist told court Doucet fled the scene of the crash on foot.
When a passing motorist stopped to ask him what was wrong about an hour later, Doucet said that he had been beaten by thieves who stole his truck.
When finally arrested by police about two hours after the crash, he also said he was beaten by thieves and his truck stolen.
Doucet then refused to provide a breath sample to police even after he was told someone had died in the crash.
Quist told court the Crown couldn’t prove alcohol impairment and had to settle for the two guilty pleas to charges of leaving the scene of an accident and refusing to provide a breath sample.
He said Doucet was observed earlier in the day having a few beers in Trochu.
About two hours after the crash when finally arrested police noticed Doucet was unsure on his feet, had bloodshot eyes and smelled of liquor.
Holmes said Doucet’s “absconding” from the scene was “deplorable and appalling.”
Doucet was callous and did all he could to avoid liability, the judge said.
“It showed a complete lack of empathy,” Holmes said.
Doucet said he had nothing to say when asked by the judge.
Kathy said later outside court she was looking for an apology.
“Any sign of human . . . emotion, compassion.
“There’s nothing here. This man won’t take accountability.”
Kathy said later the Doucet’s action may send the wrong message to the community.
“It’s basically taught people how to beat the system.
“Someone can drink, drive kill someone and just run away and refuse a breathalyzer and you’ll get away with it.
“This is what I’ve been told here. It’s not even dangerous driving.”
“Crossing the centre line doesn’t constitute dangerous driving?
“He was so far over to my right side that I pulled to the left as fast as I could.”
Kathy said she wouldn’t have been happy with any sentence.
Charges of impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and impaired driving causing bodily harm were withdrawn.