Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Repeat drunk driver caused pileup, jailed

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A repeat drunk driver who caused a four-car pileup on Henderson Highway, injuring three, has lost his bid for a penalty allowing him to keep his truck-driving job.

Randolph Millinchuk was sent to jail Friday for 18 months and was barred from driving in Canada for five years.

"While defence counsel suggests the court should be concerned about Mr. Millinchuk losing his job, I have concerns about him getting behind the wheel of a cement truck when he has not addressed his problem with alcohol," Court of Queen's Bench Justice Shawn Greenberg said.

Greenberg also rejected a request from Crown prosecutors to send the 57-year-old to federal prison for three years.

Millinchuk was convicted in 2013 of three counts of driving over the legal blood-alcohol limit, causing bodily harm in the March 6, 2010 crash.

He was behind the wheel of a large camper van with a blood-alcohol reading estimated at four times the legal limit of .08.

He blew .28, but a toxicologist's report put his actual readings in the range of .31 to .38.

Millinchuk had just left a nearby bar when he failed to see a car stopped at a red light on Whellams Lane and drove into the back of it.

The force of the collision pushed the car into the vehicle stopped in front of it, which crashed into the vehicle stopped in front of it.

Three people in the other vehicles were taken to hospital for their injuries.

One of the injured, a firefighter, was forced to retire because of lingering effects of his injuries.

Witnesses described Millinchuk as "incoherent" and "not able to stand up," Greenberg said.

One witness said he went to open the van's door and Millinchuk "literally slid out of the vehicle," the judge said.

Millinchuk's mother was killed by a drunk driver when he was six. He was in the vehicle at the time.

Yet he has racked up four prior impaired-driving convictions over the years, Greenberg said.

"In spite of the devastating impact which that accident had on his life, it did not deter him from drinking and driving," she said.

"One would think that Mr. Millinchuk's personal history would have deterred him from getting behind the wheel while impaired."

His lawyer argued for a 90-day intermittent sentence, as it would allow Millinchuk to serve his time on weekends and keep the driving job he's held for 17 years.

Greenberg refused the request, saying though Millinchuk expressed remorse, has always been gainfully employed and had an "unhappy childhood," it appeared none of the past penalties had gotten through.

While free on bail, Millinchuk went to the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba for an assessment, where it was found he had an "active problem" with drinking, Greenberg said. The agency referred him to Alcoholics Anonymous.

But it's "concerning," the judge added, that Millinchuk told a probation officer he went to AFM because Manitoba Public Insurance required him to. Also, he didn't he tell his AA sponsor he continued to drink, said Greenberg.

Just before he was sentenced, Millinchuk said there hasn't been a day since the crash he hasn't thought about it.

"I'm sorry for what happened," he said.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 10, 2014 B3

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