Lacombe-area man convicted of dangerous driving causing bodily harm

Speeding through a stop sign at 104 km/h coupled with ignoring six previous warning signs resulted in a dangerous driving causing bodily harm conviction against a university student this week.

Speeding through a stop sign at 104 km/h coupled with ignoring six previous warning signs resulted in a dangerous driving causing bodily harm conviction against a university student this week.

Mark Chandler Burns, 24, of the Lacombe area will be sentenced May 26 after he was convicted by Justice Keith Yamauchi in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench following a three-day trial.

Sentencing was adjourned for a pre-sentence report.

“He was not paying attention from the time of the first warning sign and then several more warning signs,” Yamauchi said.

“He should have been aware of the risks and dangers,” he added.

Burns was aware of a verbal stop sign on the road and also ran over four sets of rumble strips and two others stop signs, one of which was larger than a normal urban area stop sign.

The crash left David Thiessen of the Stettler area with severe burns on almost half his body.

Burns ran a stop sign at the intersection of Hwys 601 and 56 about 15 km north of Stettler on June 18, 2008.

Burns’s pickup slammed into Thiessen’s truck, which was knocked onto its roof where it caught fire.

Thiessen, 70, suffered third-degree burns to about 30 per cent of his body and second-degree burns to 12 per cent of his torso.

He also suffered a fractured skull, collapsed lung, partially severed tendon and is left with very limited use of his rotator cuffs.

Bystanders were able to spray fire extinguishers on the victim’s facial area, saving him from head burns.

Thiessen has endured several skin grafts and was hospitalized for a few months.

He didn’t testify because he has no memory of the crash or anything for two and four weeks before and after the crash.

Burns only applied his brakes two seconds before the impact, court heard earlier.

Burns, who spent a month in hospital with various injuries, testified he had little memory of the moments before and after the crash.

Cpl. Gord Baker, a RCMP collision analyst, testified that the intersection was clearly marked for a distance of 305 metres with stop signs on the pavement, stop signs in the ditch and four rumble strips. The road was dry and visibility clear.

Yamauchi ruled that Burns was driving at a marked departure from what is expected of drivers.

The speed limit before the intersection was 100 km/h on both highways.

Yamauchi said he already has a good idea how “extremely remorseful” Burns is.

“I saw him on the stand. I understand a bit of who this young man is,” the judge said.

Burns is due to graduate from the University of Alberta this spring in a science program.

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