Impaired but not drunk

A Whitehorse man has been found guilty of impaired driving causing bodily harm for a 2009 car crash that severely injured two people, leaving one confined to a wheelchair.

A Whitehorse man has been found guilty of impaired driving causing bodily harm for a 2009 car crash that severely injured two people, leaving one confined to a wheelchair.

Michael Schmidt, 30, was facing six criminal charges related to the crash.

Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale found Schmidt guilty on the two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm, but acquitted Schmidt of two counts of dangerous driving and two counts of driving with a blood alcohol content of more than 0.08.

On the afternoon of December 14, 2009, Schmidt was on his way to Haines Junction with two friends, Jessica Frotten and Michael Sanderson.

By his own admission, Schmidt was driving over the speed limit when he lost control of his grey Honda Civic.

The car hit the ditch and rolled, ejecting both Frotten and Sanderson.

Schmidt, who was wearing his seatbelt at the time, was uninjured. But his two passengers weren’t so lucky.

Sanderson suffered a broken shoulder, leg and ribs and torn ligaments in his left knee.

Frotten was much more seriously injured.

She sustained a torn aorta, broken feet, punctured lungs, several broken ribs and a broken back that left her paralyzed.

Schmidt testified a frost heave caused him to crash the car, but two RCMP officers said they didn’t see any frost heaves near the crash site.

Schmidt also admitted to drinking earlier in the day.

The trio had shared a pitcher of beer with lunch, and Schmidt testified he drank a couple samples of beer at the Yukon Brewery shortly before the crash.

Schmidt wasn’t given a breathalyzer until three hours after the accident.

He blew 0.07, under the legal limit of 0.08.

An expert witness for the Crown calculated at the time of the accident that Schmidt’s blood alcohol level would have been over the legal limit.

But an expert for the defence successfully argued the time of Schmidt’s last drink was too close to the time of the crash, rendering those calculations invalid.

The contradictory scientific testimony was enough to raise reasonable doubt about Schmidt’s blood alcohol level for Veale.

However, the judge concluded Schmidt’s ability to drive was impaired at the time of the accident.

Schmidt faces up to 10 years in prison.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 6.

Contact Josh Kerr at joshk@yukon-news.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read