The Yukon Territorial Court found the man who was drunk behind the wheel during a 2019 car crash in Whitehorse that killed two of his four passengers guilty.
During a December 2021 trial, the court heard that Anthony Andre admitted that he was driving with more than the legal limit of alcohol in his system with four passengers in the car. His vehicle left the roadway striking a light pole alongside Hamilton Boulevard shortly before 6:30 a.m. on May 13, 2019. Faith Lynn Papineau and Stallion Smarch, both 18, were killed, and a third passenger was seriously injured.
Although he acknowledged that he was impaired at the time of the collision — the defence admitted that his blood alcohol concentration was at least twice the legal limit — Andre disputed that he caused the collision. This left territorial court judge Peter Chisholm to rule on the accused man’s responsibility.
The court heard testimony from RCMP officers, paramedics, a man who saw the crash and was first on scene as well as the surviving passengers of Andre’s vehicle.
Testimony was offered suggesting there was an argument between Andre and one of the passengers in the vehicle. One of the surviving passengers testified that the other pushed Andre’s head against the driver’s side window just before the collision— the other denies this. The judge found both passengers’ testimony unreliable.
Chisholm found difficulties with accepting the argument that Andre was assaulted by a passenger because it is not consistent with physical evidence at the scene of the crash.
“If he had been assaulted in this fashion, one would expect an abrupt movement of the steering wheel. The uncontradicted physical evidence reveals that the vehicle left the roadway in a gradual and uniform fashion,” Chisholm stated, drawing on testimony from an RCMP vehicle collision analysis expert.
Chisholm said the evidence establishes that Andre entered a gradual turn in the road and was unable to maintain control of the vehicle and also that he did not hit the brakes before the vehicle struck the light post.
“Even though I cannot pinpoint his action or inaction that precipitated this loss of control, I am satisfied that there was no external factor, outside of his control, that led to his leaving the roadway. I find that his elevated blood alcohol concentration negatively affected his driving ability, leading to him making a driving error, and resulting in him causing this accident,” Chisholm stated.
Andre was found responsible and guilty of two counts of driving a conveyance with a blood alcohol level exceeding the legal limit causing death and one count of driving with a blood alcohol level exceeding the limit causing bodily harm. A stay of proceedings was entered on three other charges.
He is scheduled for another court appearance on March 24 to fix a date for sentencing.
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org