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Hit-and-run driver gets 5 months for deadly accident

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A Winnipeg man who hit and killed a pedestrian on Christmas Eve and then fled the scene has been handed five months in jail and a year-long driving ban.

Christopher Peebles, 46, pleaded guilty in December 2012 to a charge of failure to remain at the scene of an accident causing death. The more serious charge of criminal negligence causing death was dismissed earlier by the judge presiding over the preliminary hearing more than a year ago.

Reginald Blackbird died on Christmas Eve 2010 on Fife Street, either immediately or shortly after Peebles hit him and drove away around 5:45 p.m.

Blackbird had just parked his car on Fife and was carrying a bag of groceries to his daughter’s house for a holiday dinner when he was struck by Peebles. Blackbird was thrown up into the air, onto the car’s hood and windshield and then thrown to the ground.

Peebles stopped, but then backed up and drove off on a route through the neighbourhood and back onto Fife, where he checked the accident scene and then continued to drive on. He abandoned his heavily damaged car a few blocks away and was arrested by police at his sister’s house on Christmas Day.

Police found he still had windshield glass in his hair, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Shawn Greenberg said today. There was no indication Peebles was impaired, speeding or otherwise driving poorly, she said.

"While there is no doubt a abandoning a victim in the street is morally repugnant, what distinguishes this case … is that there is no suggestion that Mr. Peebles's manner of driving at the time of the accident was either criminal or careless," Greenberg said.

"This was a true accident — not the result of reckless driving."

There was some suggestion Peebles was paying attention to a woman and child on the street removing gifts from their car and he failed to see Blackbird.

Other than a conviction for refusing a breath demand from 1986, Peebles has no other driving-related convictions on his criminal or Highway Traffic Act record, Greenberg said.

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