Teenaged driver sentenced to probation in fatal crash

The teenaged driver behind the wheel in a fatal crash in Whitehorse last year has been sentenced to two years' probation and 240 hours of community service.

The teenaged driver behind the wheel in a fatal crash in Whitehorse last year has been sentenced to two years’ probation and 240 hours of community service.

She has also been banned from driving for the next three years.

The girl was 15 in August 2014 when the 1990 Honda Accord she was driving smashed into a semi truck.

The crash killed 20-year-old Brendan Kinney instantly. A 15-year-old girl died later in hospital.

A third passenger, 18-year-old Derrick Gibbons, was seriously injured.

The driver pleaded guilty to one charge of dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm.

According to an agreed statement of facts read in territorial court Monday, she only had her learner’s permit for a few months when she was driving at 3 a.m. Her permit means she wasn’t supposed to be driving at that time or with those people in the car.

At 3 a.m. on Aug. 9, 2014, the Honda was heading northbound on the Alaska Highway.

As she approached the intersection with the South Access Road she made a left turn in front of a transport truck that was travelling southbound. The car had no turning indicator on.

The transport truck driver tried to stop, the court heard, but there was no time.

The teen driver walked away but the rest of the vehicle was so badly damaged that the truck had to be backed off of it so emergency responders could get to the passengers.

At the hospital the driver told a nurse she had smoked marijuana and drank five shots of vodka prior to driving.

On the scene her blood alcohol level registered at 0.03. By 6 a.m. it came back at less than 0.01.

In a packed courtroom Monday judge John Faulkner accepted the sentence that had been recommended to him by the lawyers on both sides of the case.

He said the sentence fell within the range for a crime like this. Sentencing a young offender is different than adult court, he said. Here, the court is required to pay particular attention to rehabilitation.

He said the girl is young and has good prospects for rehabilitation.

The “impulsive and ill-considered decision of a youth” has left many people devastated, Faulkner said.

The girl has one year to complete her community service. For the first eight months of her probation she will have a curfew between 10 a.m. and 6 a.m.

What happened cannot be undone, the judge told the girl. She will have to live with what happened and it will be hard.

But she needs to try to live with a purpose he told her. “Try to make the world a better place.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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