Drunk driver who killed family of four near Saskatoon denied full parole
SASKATOON -- A woman who was convicted of killing a family of four while she was driving impaired has been denied full parole.
Catherine McKay, who is 54, will remain on day parole for at least six months.
Jordan and Chanda Van De Vorst, as well as their two children, were killed on the outskirts of Saskatoon in 2016 when McKay ran a stop sign and crashed into the family's vehicle.
The Parole Board of Canada, which made its decision last month, says full parole is premature for McKay, who the board says has issues managing her emotions and is at times disrespectful to her case managers when things don't go her way.
In its written decision, the board says McKay has lacked empathy as demonstrated by recent behaviours, including getting visibly upset when she was previously denied full parole and getting told she couldn't visit her son on a weekend pass.
A request from McKay to visit a pub for a memorial service was also a factor in the board denying her request for full parole.
"It also appears that you struggle with insight into some of your high-risk situations, such as wanting to attend a drinking establishment and continuing to pursue this option, while you have a board-imposed condition in place and also while you were told no by your case management team," the decision reads.
McKay must abide by several conditions while she remains on day parole, including a curfew, a ban on using drugs and alcohol and avoiding contact with the victims' relatives.
McKay had told the board she does not view herself as a risk to society and that nothing would trigger her to drink again, as it repulses her. The decision says she felt she should be released because she had done everything asked of her.
While in custody, McKay has participated in programs to address her substance abuse and other risks that could lead to reoffending. She has also successfully passed numerous drug tests.
The board says McKay has been assessed as having "high reintegration potential," but it was felt "a slow and restructured release is paramount."
"You have taken some weekend passes to your proposed accommodations and this remains an important step as you transition to an expanded form of release," the decision says.
"The board encourages these to continue as these passes allow you to gain further opportunities to apply your skills in a more independent setting."
The board concluded that McKay needs to continue to manage her emotions as they are a contributing factor in her offending.
"Having a slow and structured release, which allows you to continue to put your relapse prevention plan and coping skills into place to manage difficult situations, is assessed as the appropriate next step to support a structured release."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2021.