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Drunk driver sentenced to 30 months for crash which paralyzed friend

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A Winnipeg man has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for a drunken crash that left his friend permanently brain damaged.

Daniel Dupuis was convicted earlier this year of impaired driving causing bodily harm for an April 2009 tragedy.

He returned to court today for sentencing. The Crown was seeking four years in prison. Dupuis, 41, asked for a penalty of two years behind bars.

"If I could change places with David... I will always have a guilty conscience for what happened to David," an emotional Dupuis told court during sentencing submissions earlier this month.

The 48-year-old victim, David Catellier, suffered serious injuries when the car Dupuis was driving hit a patch of ice and slammed into a sign on St. Anne’s road in the early morning hours of Apr. 4, 2009. They included a fractured spine, losing part of his scalp and several crushed ribs.

"I thank God I’m alive," the victim wrote in a statement read aloud in court by the Crown. He is now under 24-hour daily care at a personal care home and will never make a full recovery. He still struggles with basic tasks such as walking and talking and lost his ability to work as a welder.

The victim and Dupuis had spent the previous evening sandbagging, then went out to a mutual friend’s home where they consumed several drinks before heading home. Dupuis had a blood-alcohol reading of nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the crash. He was also travelling 100 km-h in a 60 km-h zone, court was told.

"I made a very bad choice. I drove and I shouldn’t have," Dupuis told court. He also was injured in the crash and had to be cut out of the wreckage of his crumpled car.

Dupuis has an extensive criminal past including a prior drunk driving conviction, several breaches of court orders and fraud-related offences.

 

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