Nova Scotia

Lower Economy woman sentenced to two years in prison for impaired driving

TRURO, N.S. — A Lower Economy woman has been sentenced to two years in prison on charges related to an impaired driving accident in July 2022.

Lindsay Anne Parker, 38, pleaded guilty in Truro provincial court to six counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm after the Buick LeSabre she was driving drifted into the other lane and collided with an oncoming Hyundai Kona on Highway 2 near her home on July 24, 2022.

A blood analysis revealed her blood alcohol level was .148. The legal limit is .08

In the car with Parker at the time were her two sons. In the other car was one driver and three passengers, including Martine Labelle and Richard Lavoie, who were visiting Nova Scotia from Montreal.

A medical report from the long-term care centre Lavoie is residing in, translated during a sentencing hearing Jan. 18, stated he suffers from “permanent cognitive and physical after-effects” and a “serious behavioural disorder” because of the accident.

In a victim impact statement provided by Labelle in court on Jan. 18, she spoke of Lavoie’s change from a caring, peaceful man to a shell of his former self, unable to be cared for by his family due to his violent impulses and erratic behaviour.


Circumstances

Judge Del Atwood, who oversaw the sentencing Friday, considered Parker’s personal circumstances when making his decision.

Parker was at her home when she got into a heated argument with her visiting parents. It was then that she, under the influence of alcohol, got her two children in the car and drove off from her home.

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The Truro Justice Centre. - Brendyn Creamer
The Truro Justice Centre. – Brendyn Creamer

Atwood read to the court that Parker had begun using alcohol as a coping mechanism after experiencing symptoms of depression. She has since stopped consuming alcohol and attends regular counselling and therapy.

He also referenced Parker’s letter of apology, calling it “powerful,” and noted her early guilty plea was a mitigating factor in his decision, showing that she accepts responsibility for her actions.


Out of character

With no prior convictions and a positive character reference letter submitted to the court, Parker’s conduct was out of character, Atwood said.

However, this did not act as a mitigating factor in his sentencing.

“The consistent direction arising from appellate review is that good character and lack of prior record are common characteristics of persons who commit alcohol-related conveyancing offences,” said Atwood.

Furthermore, there were several statutory aggravating factors that Atwood took into consideration: the fact seven people were injured (including two people under 18), Parker’s blood-alcohol level, and the impact on Lavoie’s family.

While defence lawyer David Green recommended a conditional sentence of two years less a day (a sentence she could serve in her community) followed by three years of probation, Crown attorney Thomas Kayter suggested the sentence be served in jail to help further deter people from impaired driving. The maximum sentence is 14 years.

Atwood sentenced Parker to two years’ imprisonment at the Nova Institution for Women in Truro, followed by three years of probation and a driving prohibition of five years upon release.

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