Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Drunk driver accepts discipline, laments causing death of best friend


Lukas Nicolas has thought about his best friend Myles Cameron every day since the night they were out drinking and Cameron died when Nicolas lost control of his truck.

“I’m just sorry for what happened. I can’t bring my best friend back,” said Nicolas, 21, who was visibly upset during his sentencing hearing in Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench. “I’m willing to accept my discipline.”

Nicolas had earlier pleaded guilty to drunk driving causing death in connection with the December 2010 incident. He was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in jail followed by two years probation.

Cameron, 20, was the front-seat passenger and the only one of five people in Nicolas’s truck not wearing a seatbelt that night. Cameron was ejected from the truck as it began to roll and he ended up pinned under the roof when the truck came to rest upside down in a ditch on Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation, near Duck Lake. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No one else in the truck was seriously injured.

The young men — best friends from high school getting together during the holiday season — had started drinking around 5 p.m. on Dec. 21, 2010. Cameron had returned home from Yorkton, where he played for the Saskatoon Junior Hockey League’s Yorkton Terriers.

They spent much of the evening drinking and driving around the country. Much later that night, they drove into Duck Lake to get more alcohol.

On the way back at 1:30 a.m. Dec. 22, Nicolas lost control on the icy road. The collision reconstruc­tionist report showed Nicolas was driving slightly over the speed limit of 80 km/h. Human action was determined to be the cause of the accident, when Nicolas oversteere­d to the left and the truck began sliding sideways, then spun and rolled off the road. It all happened in a matter of seconds.

The case was unique because the tragedy actually brought Nicolas’s family and Cameron’s family closer together, Crown prosecutor Lua Young said.

“The simple request of Myles Cameron’s family was that they already lost one life. They didn’t want to lose another life, Lukas Nicolas’s, to the criminal justice system,” Young said.

However, Young noted the establishe­d sentencing range for drunk driving causing bodily harm or death in Saskatchew­an is between 15 months and seven years incarcerat­ion — and death is considered an aggravatin­g factor in sentencing.

“Unfortunat­ely, the risks inherent in drinking and driving are most clearly demonstrat­ed when a life is lost,” she said.

The Crown proposed a sentence at the very low end of the range — 18 months — because of the “exceptiona­l” circumstan­ces of the case, Young said. Nicolas, who had no criminal record, immediatel­y accepted responsibi­lity and admitted to police he had been drinking. He has been remorseful since the day of the incident and main- tained “model behaviour” since then, Young said.

Defence lawyer Ron Parchomchu­k, who agreed with the Crown’s sentence recommenda­tion, said Nicolas misses his friend deeply.

“It is a tragedy here. We have a young man who’s died. We have his best friend who caused it and we have that young man going to jail for a significan­t period of time,” Parchomchu­k said. “Most importantl­y, the sentence that’s imposed today won’t come near to the sentence (Nicolas has) imposed on himself.”

Justice Gerald Allbright said the proposed sentence was at the “very, very low end” of the range and if not for all the mitigating factors outlined by the lawyers, his view of an appropriat­e sentence would be between 2 1/2 and three years in prison. However, he said all the circumstan­ces made the 18-month sentence appropriat­e.

When he’s released from jail, Nicolas will also be subject to a threeyear driving prohibitio­n. The conditions of his probation include that he abstain from alcohol and stay out of bars and participat­e in an addictions assessment.

 ?? GORD WALDNER/The StarPhoeni­x ?? Lukas Nicolas was sentenced to 18 months
in jail on Wednesday.
GORD WALDNER/The StarPhoeni­x Lukas Nicolas was sentenced to 18 months in jail on Wednesday.
 ??  ?? Myles Cameron
Myles Cameron

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