Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Accused in fatal crash has stormy past

Sentenced last year for violent rampage

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A Winnipeg man accused of killing a city senior in an alleged drunk-driving crash has battled the bottle in recent years and once did a stint at a live-in rehab program while on bail for an alcohol-fuelled "crime spree" a judge once described as mind-boggling.

Adam Langan remains in custody at the Winnipeg Remand Centre after being arrested Saturday evening at the scene of a multi-vehicle smash-up near McPhillips Street and William Avenue around 5 p.m. Saturday.

The 29-year-old is presumed innocent of several charges he's facing, including impaired driving causing the death of Doreen Chaikowsky, 71.

Langan has not yet applied for bail and his case was remanded Monday to Sept. 6.

Langan also faces allegations of impaired driving causing bodily harm and refusing to submit to breath-evaluation testing for the presence of drugs or alcohol.

Police suspect Langan was behind the wheel of a fast-moving Ford Ranger truck travelling in the curb lane of northbound McPhillips when he slammed into a Honda truck turning left onto William.

Police said Langan's truck then slammed into Chaikowsky's Chevy Cobalt. Her car then bashed into another Honda, police said.

The elderly victim was rushed to hospital where she later died.

Several others also needed medical attention, police said. In all, seven vehicles were damaged.

Photos from the scene show a red Ford Ranger truck with extensive front-end damage and the driver's-side tire completely ripped off.

Court records show a 25-month sentence Langan was handed on Jan. 30, 2012, for robbery, mischief and court-order breaches would have expired in May.

He was likely freed months before that, given virtually all provincial inmates qualify for early release after serving two-thirds of their jail time. The province has a policy to not reveal an inmate's specific release date.

Court heard at sentencing Langan armed himself with an axe on Dec. 10, 2010, drove a Ford Ranger truck to a family-support centre on Sargent Avenue and used the axe to chop at the agency's windows and doorway.

After going inside, he screamed out the name of a woman who met him and departed with him in the truck, Crown prosecutor Mitchell Lavitt said. Langan then drove to a 7-Eleven store on Ellice Avenue, went inside with the axe, placed it on the counter and demanded lottery tickets and cash from the terrified clerk.

Langan fled the store with nothing soon after, but before driving away, he took "great offence" to a parked Toyota and used the axe to chop out three of its windows, Lavitt said. While fleeing along Arlington Street, Langan rear-ended a woman's car at Logan Avenue and drove off. Police eventually boxed in the truck near his home on Dufferin Avenue and arrested him.

While being interviewed by police, Langan told them he was too intoxicated to remember anything that happened but identified himself in the 7-Eleven's security video, Lavitt said. He was granted bail a day later but rearrested after a few weeks of freedom for drinking.

Lavitt said Langan was involved in a family dispute and found asleep on a bed in a room strewn with beer cans.

He got another shot at bail -- this time to go live at the Behavioural Health Foundation treatment centre in St. Norbert -- but breached his bail conditions by breaking the facility's rules in July 2011 by having consensual sex with a female client.

Langan could provide no reason for his "crime spree" or for suddenly becoming involved with the justice system despite having no prior record, lawyer John McAmmond said.

For years, he held a steady job at a roofing company and was considered a valuable and hardworking employee, McAmmond said.

"He offers no excuses for it. He's embarrassed by it. It was drugs and alcohol that fuelled it," McAmmond said.

He did well in rehab and followed that up with programming while in jail, the lawyer said.

Provincial court Judge Janice leMaistre said the sudden spree "boggles the mind."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 27, 2013 A6

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