Im­paired driv­ing charge dropped in fa­tal col­li­sion

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A de­tailed ac­ci­dent re­con­struc­tion re­port led the Crown to drop an im­paired driv­ing caus­ing death charge in the case of a man who struck and killed a pedes­trian on the Trans-canada High­way ear­lier this year.In­stead, 24-year-old Mathew Scott pleaded guilty to a sim­ple .08 charge, the re­port hav­ing de­ter­mined that even a per­son driv­ing sober would likely have hit 25-year-old Ni­cholas Kashuba.Court heard Kashuba was also un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol when, in the early morn­ing hours of June 17, he wan­dered away from a func­tion in White City and into the mid­dle of the driv­ing lanes of the busy high­way.Scott stopped fol­low­ing the col­li­sion, telling an off-duty po­lice of­fi­cer be­hind him — who also hadn’t seen the vic­tim prior to the crash — he be­lieved he had hit a per­son. RCMP ini­tially charged Scott with im­paired driv­ing caus­ing death as his blood-al­co­hol level was found to be .12. But a lengthy and de­tailed in­ves­ti­ga­tion even­tu­ally ended with the orig­i­nal charges be­ing tossed out and lesser charges laid.On Thurs­day, Scott pleaded guilty to the .08 charge and re­ceived a $1,500 fine and a one-year driv­ing pro­hi­bi­tion. He had no pre­vi­ous crim­i­nal record.De­fence lawyer Aaron Fox told the court his client had been out with friends that night. Although the night’s plan in­cluded al­co­hol, Fox said Scott had pre­vi­ously ar­ranged for a driver but be­came sep­a­rated from his friends.Fox said Scott felt enough time had passed be­tween hav­ing drank and get­ting be­hind the wheel, and that he didn’t feel he was im­paired.Court heard that, by the time of the crash, an­other driver had al­ready had a close call with Kashuba, hav­ing man­aged to avoid hit­ting him at the last mo­ment. That driver called po­lice, who were on their way to look for Kashuba when he was hit by Scott.The crash, which oc­curred just be­yond an over­pass near White City, led to a lengthy in­ves­ti­ga­tion that in­cluded em­ploy­ing a team of ac­ci­dent re­con­struc­tion­ists. The in­ves­ti­ga­tors recre­ated the time and con­di­tions of the col­li­sion, with one mem­ber driv­ing the same type of ve­hi­cle and an­other stand­ing where Scott had been on the left side of the right driv­ing lane.The driver who had missed Kashuba de­scribed hav­ing been mo­men­tar­ily blinded by the ar­ti­fi­cial lights of the over­pass and there­fore shocked to find a manIt’s been de­ter­mined by the re­con­struc­tion­ist re­port there was noth­ing you could have done that day.stand­ing on the other side. Po­lice dis­cov­ered a sim­i­lar sce­nario, lead­ing to the con­clu­sion that even a sober driver likely would not have been able to avoid the col­li­sion.Scott of­fered an apol­ogy in court, say­ing he was “ex­tremely sorry for the whole event that took place and for all the de­ci­sions that were made lead­ing up to it.”Judge Kevin Lang noted the se­ri­ous­ness of the in­ci­dent in agree­ing to im­pose the penalty sought by the Crown.Re­gard­less of fault, Lang said, Scott still made a bad de­ci­sion to drive im­paired.“Ob­vi­ously a hu­man life was lost and ob­vi­ously you’re the cause of that hu­man life be­ing lost,” Lang said. “But hav­ing said that, it’s been de­ter­mined by the re­con­struc­tion­ist re­port there was noth­ing you could have done that day.”

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