Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Five years in prison for drunk driver who killed 3

  • Print

A man who killed three people while driving drunk in southern Manitoba has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Clarke Harding, 32, was also hit with a 10-year driving ban at Monday afternoon’s hearing. The Crown had asked for six years behind bars, while Harding was seeking just a three-year penalty.

Provincial court Judge Tracey Lord said this is yet another tragic example of the devastating consequences of impaired driving.

"He is, by all accounts, a good and kind person who made a horrible decision," said Lord. "I accept his remorse is genuine and he feels immense guilt."

Harding was the only survivor of the January 2012 head-on crash in Sanford, southwest of Winnipeg.

Harding was driving a Chrysler Sebring when he crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic and struck a Nissan pickup truck on Highway 3. The truck's driver, Paul Kler, 64, died instantly. Ellory Kirkwood, 20, and Michelle Hastings, 21, died in hospital; they were both passengers in Harding’s vehicle.

"I still wish every day I could trade places with them," Harding told court during sentencing submissions earlier this fall. "I don't feel lucky that I lived. I wish I could take it all back. I know I don't deserve your forgiveness. I just want you to know that I'm sorry."

Harding had pleaded guilty to three counts of impaired driving causing death. He had a blood-alcohol reading between .095 and .114. The legal limit for driving is .08.

Kirkwood, Hastings and Harding were friends. They'd spent the evening out at a bar. Harding was the designated driver. Although he drank some alcohol, Harding believed it wouldn't affect him.

"No doubt Mr. Harding feels terrible, is genuinely remorseful, but the point is, other people need to be deterred from making that similar decision," Crown attorney Chris Vanderhooft previously told court.

Defence lawyer Sarah Inness described Harding as an otherwise law-abiding citizen made a tragic error in judgment that will haunt him for life.

"He is not an intentional killer. He thought he would be OK (to drive)," said Inness.

The families of all three victims made powerful impact statements in court and returned Monday for the conclusion of the case.

www.mikeoncrime.com

History

Updated on Monday, November 4, 2013 at 1:57 PM CST: Updated with sentence.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Maurice Leggett on his three inceptions vs. Alouettes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Perfect Day- Paul Buteux walks  his dog Cassie Tuesday on the Sagimay Trail in Assiniboine Forest enjoying a almost perfect  fall day in Winnipeg- Standup photo – September 27, 2011   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Hay bales sit under a rainbow just west of Winnipeg Saturday, September 3, 2011.(John Woods/Winnipeg Free Press)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What do you think of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s comment that Tina Fontaine’s slaying was a crime, and not part of a larger sociological problem?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google