Impaired driving charge dropped in fatal collision
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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