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Truck driver handed three-year sentence for crash that killed three teens
Published Monday, September 11, 2017 11:44AM CST
Last Updated Monday, September 11, 2017 7:55PM CST
A truck driver who killed three Carrot River teens in 2015 has been sentenced to three years for the deaths.
Normand Lavoie was handed the prison sentence in Court of Queen’s Bench in Melfort Monday morning.
Lavoie told court he was on “auto-pilot” and doesn’t remember seeing the construction warning signs before the crash during sentencing arguments last month.
The three teens — Carter Stevenson, 17, Kristian Skalicky,15, and Justin Gaja,14, — were pronounced dead at the scene after Lavoie’s semi-truck rear-ended their car in a construction zone on Highway 6, south of Melfort.
The trio were all high school football players on their way home football camp. A flag person from B.C. was also injured in the crash.
Lavoie, 41, pleaded guilty to three counts of dangerous driving causing death and one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm last May.
He received three years for each count of dangerous driving causing death and one year for dangerous driving causing bodily harm, but because the sentence will be served concurrently, Lavoie was sentenced to three years total in prison.
“This sentencing has been particularly difficult for me, and I've been a judge for decades,” Justice Mona Dovell said Monday.
Crown prosecutor Tyla Olenchuk was seeking a six-year prison sentence. Defence lawyer Mike Nolin asked for a sentence of two years plus one day on behalf of Lavoie. Nolin said he was uncomfortable asking for a federal sentence, but Lavoie is requested it because then he may get to serve time near his family in Manitoba.
Numerous victim impact statements were read aloud in court last month. Two of the boys’ moms sobbed as they talked coping with the loss.
“It’s a pain so intense I don’t even know how a person survives it … my days are so very hard and always will be,” Justin’s mom, Crystal Baja, said during sentencing arguments.
Lavoie choked back tears when he addressed the families and said he’d contemplated suicide because of the crash, but that he has his own family who needs him. He said he’s at fault, but did not cause the crash intentionally.
“If you could find it in your hearts someday to forgive me … please understand I am truly deeply sorry for your losses,” Lavoie said last month.
He also told court his mother and grandmother were killed by a semi driver when he was a teenager.
---With files from CTV Saskatoon's Jennifer Jellicoe