Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Drunk driver gets 4 1/2 years for deadly crash
A Winnipeg man high on cocaine, drunk on alcohol and driving more than double the speed limit has been sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison for causing a deadly crash.
Adam Langan, 30, pleaded guilty to the August, 2013 tragedy, which occurred on a Saturday afternoon on McPhillips Street.
Doreen Chaikowsky, 71, was killed instantly when her heart and liver were torn in the crash.
Provincial court Judge Kelly Moar agreed Thursday with a joint-recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers while also imposing a 10-year driving ban on Langan. He said this type of case is all-too-common, but the facts here are especially aggravating.
"You’ve committed what can only be described as the ultimate offence," said Moar. "You showed a complete disregard for the usage of the roadway."
Langan had more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood and was high on cocaine. He was driving at a speed of 123 kilometres per hour in a 60-km/h zone when he smashed into several vehicles on McPhillips Street near William Avenue.
"One cannot explain what happened to Doreen Chaikowsky as an accident," Crown attorney Jim Ross said during sentencing submissions last week. "At this level of intoxication by both alcohol and drug, at reckless speeds, at 5 p.m. on a Saturday on a busy thoroughfare, it was inevitable that Mr. Langan was going to cause tragedy."
Langan said he is filled with remorse, but Moar noted on Thursday his demeanour was very different at the scene of the crash.
Langan was extremely combative, challenged police officers to a fight, called them "white bitches" and gave them the middle finger while shouting that he was only being arrested because "I’m aboriginal."
"He showed no concern for those he had harmed," said Moar.
Langan entered his guilty plea recently after his bid for bail was denied.
"I’ve spent a lot of time wishing it was me that didn’t walk away that day," Langan wrote in a statement presented to the court. "I can’t even begin to try and understand their loss."
Debbie Leah read a powerful victim-impact statement last week in which she described Chaikowsky as a loving, caring mother and grandmother who deplored drunk driving.
"She often stayed up late to be the designated driver when friends or family attended social events, and that’s what makes her death even harder to take," said Leah. "She was an exceptional woman."
The Crown said this sort of tragedy could be seen from a mile away.
Langan had been on a downward spiral that resulted in a 2010 arrest after he threatened a woman with an axe, robbed a 7-Eleven while carrying a weapon, smashed a parked car and struck several vehicles while intoxicated, court was told.
He pleaded guilty and was released from custody in December, 2012. He got alcohol and drug counselling, but left the program before finishing it. His driver’s licence was returned in March, 2013, and he killed Chaikowsky five months later.
"Life gave him a series of warnings that he was on the wrong path, but he persisted in a self-destructive cycle," said Ross.
Langan had been driving his employer’s pickup truck in the open curb lane while traffic in other lanes was heavy. He sped into the intersection, setting off a deadly chain reaction in which seven vehicles were struck. Six other people were injured.
Updated on Thursday, July 31, 2014 at 4:17 PM CDT: adds photo
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