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Killer driver gets 54 months

Man was speeding, drunk and high at time of accident

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Debbie Leah, daughter-in-law of Doreen Chaikowsky, leaves the Law Courts after the sentencing  of  Adam Quinn Langan.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Debbie Leah, daughter-in-law of Doreen Chaikowsky, leaves the Law Courts after the sentencing of Adam Quinn Langan. Photo Store

He was high on cocaine, drunk on alcohol and driving more than double the speed limit when he killed an elderly motorist.

Now a Winnipeg man has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for the type of tragedy a Manitoba judge says is all too familiar.

Adam Langan, 30, pleaded guilty to the August 2013 crash, which occurred on a Saturday afternoon on McPhillips Street.

Doreen Chaikowsky, 71, was killed instantly when her heart and liver were torn.

Provincial court Judge Kelly Moar also imposed a 10-year driving ban on Langan Thursday, saying 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."

'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' -- Debbie Leah, daughter-in-law of Doreen Chaikowsky

Langan was given enhanced "time-and-a-half" credit of 17 months for his pre-trial custody, leaving him with 37 months left to serve. He will be eligible for parole in just over a year after completing one-third of his sentence.

Members of Chaikowsky's reacted with anger to the sentence, which came as a result of a joint-recommendation between the Crown and defence. They said Langan was given a slap on the wrist.

Moar noted this type of sentence is on the high end of the range for an impaired driving causing death conviction. He said nothing the courts could do would take back the family's loss.

"Vengeance... is not a principal of sentencing," said Moar.

Langan had more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood and was high on cocaine. His speed was 123 km/h 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."

'I've spent a lot of time wishing it was me that didn't walk away that day'

-- Adam Langan

Langan said he is filled with remorse, but Moar noted 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 her mother-in-law 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," said Ross. "But he persisted in a self-destructive cycle."

Langan had been driving his employer's pickup truck on 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 people were injured.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 1, 2014 B1

History

Updated on Friday, August 1, 2014 at 7:02 AM CDT: Replaces photo

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