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Sask. woman handed 18-month conditional sentence over impaired driving crash

Police handcuffs, vehicle keys and an alcoholic beverage. (File photo) Police handcuffs, vehicle keys and an alcoholic beverage. (File photo)
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A Saskatchewan woman who pled guilty to impaired driving over a high-speed crash in 2022 has received an 18-month conditional sentence, calling the incident a “wake-up call.”

According to a recent court decision, 60-year-old Katherine Mills pled guilty to the charge of impaired driving causing bodily harm in November. She was driving with a blood alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the crash in August 2022.

The crash resulted in serious injuries for one of the passengers in the vehicle, Shannon Sayer.

Mills was driving a van that night and was planning on being the designated driver for Sayer and a group of her family members, but ended up drinking to the extent that she “blacked out,” leaving her with no memory of the accident.

Police had spotted the vehicle driving erratically in the early morning hours of Aug. 21 near Casino Regina.

The offender’s vehicle proceeded to make a wide left turn at the intersection, heading north onto Broad Street and accelerating to a “high rate of speed,” leading to a high speed collision with a median.

Damage from the crash was limited to the van and the passengers inside. Police on-scene noted the offender showed signs of impairment, and took her into custody.

Sayer, a senior citizen, was in a relationship with Mills’ brother at the time of the crash. She said in a victim impact statement that the accident has caused both physical and emotional pain and suffering.

Sayer’s injuries include spinal fractures and a brain hemorrhage.

“She continues to attend physiotherapy to regain mobility and fears that she will never recover to where she was at before the accident. Simple tasks, such as carrying out groceries, are now difficult,” Justice Noah Evanchuk wrote in the decision.

The judge also considered the circumstances of the offender, who was born into a large Metis family and witnessed alcohol abuse throughout her childhood, according to her counsel.

At the time of the crash, she was working as a pizza delivery driver.

Mills told court she stopped drinking since that night, acknowledging her role in Sayer’s injuries, accepting responsibility and expressing remorse that the judge accepted as sincere.

“She stated that she was sincerely sorry for causing the trauma to Ms. Sayer and recognized that her reckless behavior was a ‘wake-up call’ that requires her to learn from her mistakes and make better choices,” Evanchuk wrote. “She acknowledged that the incident caused her to fall into a deep depression that she has begun to address with the help of a loving and supportive family.”

“She indicated that she had intended to plead guilty and take responsibility for her actions immediately, but that she was advised by counsel to wait until the Court process had been followed. She stated that she was, in her own words, ‘putting herself in the Court’s hands.’”

Evanchuk went on to describe Mills as someone with “strong community and family supports” who expressed sincere remorse and has not reoffended since.

“I am satisfied that a carceral sentence is not required in the circumstances to hold her accountable and ensure that there is a sufficient deterrent effect for her actions,” Evanchuk said.

Mills’ sentence includes a range of conditions, including no contact with the victim except through a lawyer. The judge also imposed a two-year driving prohibition from the day of sentencing.

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