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Lawyers seek four-and-a-half year sentence in impaired driving crash

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Lawyers are seeking a four-and-a-half year prison sentence for a Winnipeg man behind the wheel of a deadly impaired driving crash.

Adan Langan, 30, appeared in court Friday to learn his fate after pleading guilty to the August 2013 tragedy.

Langan had more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood, was high on cocaine and driving 123 km-h in a 60 km-h zone when he smashed into several vehicles on a Saturday afternoon on McPhillips Street near William Avenue.

Doreen Chaikowsky, 71, suffered catastrophic "crushing" injuries including torn heart and liver, court was told.

Langan became combative at the scene, challenging police officers to fight, calling them "white bitches" and flipping them the middle finger while shouting that he was only being arrested because "I’m aboriginal."

"One cannot explain what happened to Doreen Chaikowsky as an accident," Crown attorney Jim Ross told court. "It was inevitable that he was going to cause tragedy."

The court hearing is being broadcast live as part of a pilot project by Manitoba justice officials. Crown and defence lawyers made the joint-recommendation on sentence, saying it is on the higher end of precedents for this type of offence. The maximum penalty is life in prison.

Family members of the victim agreed to read their impact statement on camera. They described Chaikowsky as a loving, caring mother and grandmother who deplored drunk driving and often went out of her way to ensure family members weren’t getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.

Her death at the hands of such a driver is tragic irony, court was told.

At one point, one of Chaikowsky’s sons passed by the prisoner’s box where Langan was sitting, leaned in and called him a "piece of s—t" before walking away without further incident.

Langan also had a statement to read Friday but elected to have his lawyer do it on the grounds he didn’t want to show his face on camera.

"I’ve spent a lot of time wishing it was me that didn’t walk away that day," Langan wrote. "I can’t even begin to try and understand their loss."

He blamed "one bad decision" for causing a lifetime of anguish.

"If any good can come from this it’s that I can learn from my mistake," he said.

However, the Crown said this sort of tragedy could be seen from a mile away. Langan had been on a downward spiral which resulted in a 2010 arrest where he threatened a woman with an axe, robbed a 7-Eleven with the weapon, smashed a parked car and struck several vehicles while speeding away while drunk and high, court was told.

He eventually pleaded guilty and was released from custody in December 2012. He took some alcohol and drug treatment but left a program without completion. He got his suspended licence back in March 2013, and killed Chaikowsky five months later.

A total of seven vehicles ended up being struck in the crash, with six victims suffering a variety of injuries

Langan had been driving his employer’s Ford pickup along the open curb lane while traffic in other lanes was heavy at the time, with at least one witness describing it as "gridlock."

Langan sped into the intersection, failing to notice cars in other lanes were stopped to let a left-turning Honda onto McPhillips The Honda was hit. At the same time, Chaikowsky made a right turn from William onto McPhillips and was struck by Langan's vehicle.

Chaikowsky's Chevy Cobalt was pushed onto the curb.


Updated on Friday, July 25, 2014 at 1:46 PM CDT: Adds live stream box.

4:05 PM: Updated with write-through

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