Drunk driver sentenced to two years for killing man on Courtenay sidewalk
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Tuesday, March 12, 2019 1:47PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 12, 2019 6:27PM PDT
A drunk driver who struck and killed a man on a sidewalk in Courtenay and injured two others has been sentenced to 25 months in prison.
Selina-Marie Laliberte was convicted in December on three charges stemming from the 2016 crash.
In a sentencing decision released Monday, the court found that shortly before 2 p.m. on July 26, 2016, the 46-year-old was behind the wheel of her Nissan Pathfinder when she struck Buenaventura Bernard, 71, while he was walking with his wife, Margarita Bernard, on the sidewalk at 2760 Cliffe Ave. in downtown Courtenay.
Laliberte “accelerated rapidly,” according to court documents, and “reached a high speed before driving up onto the sidewalk.”
Buenaventura Bernard was thrown onto the windshield and died at the scene.
Laliberte’s vehicle continued northbound on Cliffe Avenue where it rear-ended a vehicle stopped at a traffic light, causing that vehicle to rear-end the car in front of it.
Laliberte’s Pathfinder only came to a stop after hitting a parked car in a lot at 2500 Cliffe Ave.
The drivers of the two cars struck at the intersection both suffered injuries.
Two passengers in Laliberte’s vehicle testified that “prior to accelerating rapidly, Ms. Laliberte went stiff and stared straight ahead,” according to the documents.
One of the passengers “tried to pull Ms. Laliberte’s leg off the accelerator pedal to no avail.” Laliberte “did not respond to physical touch,” nor did she respond to her passengers’ shouts until the vehicle came to a stop, according to the documents.
Laliberte failed a roadside breathalyzer test, and later provided two breath samples at the hospital, registering one and a half times the legal limit of 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.
The judge sentenced Laliberte on March 1, to 25 months for one count of driving with a blood alcohol content over 0.08 causing death; and 18 months for two counts of driving with a blood alcohol content over 0.08 causing bodily harm. The sentences will be served concurrently.
Laliberte is also prohibited from driving for five years after her sentence is served.