Driver who accidentally killed 2 pedestrians appeals driving ban

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WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg woman who killed two pedestrians in a horrific downtown crash is fighting to overturn her 10-year driving ban.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/09/2010 (4455 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG – A Winnipeg woman who killed two pedestrians in a horrific downtown crash is fighting to overturn her 10-year driving ban.

Lucy Muthoka, 52, has filed documents with the Court of Appeal, saying she plans to argue the prohibition is “harsh and excessive” and should be reduced. She is not appealing any other parts of the two-year suspended sentence with probation she received last month, which included 240 hours of community service.

Muthoka pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death for the June 2008 incident near the intersection of Donald Street and St. Mary Avenue in downtown Winnipeg. William Halcrow, 57, and James Ross, 58, were killed instantly after being hit by Muthoka’s Subaru Forester. The two friends from the Cross Lake reserve in northern Manitoba were in Winnipeg for medical treatment.

BORIS,MINKEVICH@FREEPRESS.MB ARCHIVES A paramedic escorts Lucy Muthoka at scene of crash in June, 2008.

“God being my witness, I never intended to harm. Words fail to express how sorry I am,” Muthoka told a large courtroom gathering which included family and friends of the two men. “I am more sorry than the world will understand. I will continue to pray for the healing of everyone affected by this. May God meet the needs of everyone whose lives were changed.”

Crown attorney Zane Tessler said Muthoka was an inexperienced driver who had just completed five refresher courses after purchasing a new car. While exiting a downtown parkade, she somehow hit the gas pedal instead of her brake and accelerated rapidly, striking several vehicles and people at the crowded intersection during rush-hour traffic.

Muthoka also hit a fire hydrant, which caused hundreds of litres of water to quickly flood the area. That hampered the police investigation because it was difficult to re-create the scene and figure out the sequence of events.

Several bystanders who witnessed the crash – and narrowly avoided being hit – tried frantically to revive the two gravely injured men, as did firefighters and paramedics upon arrival. A third man was pinned between two cars and suffered serious injuries, as did the drivers of two other vehicles.

Muthoka wasn’t intoxicated or distracted by anything such as a cellular phone or texting, court was told. She had no prior criminal record and was described in court as a devoutly religious single mother who has spent the past decade working for Agriculture Canada. She is originally from Kenya and serves as an elder within the local community, along with being heavily involved in her church. More than 30 people filed glowing letters of support on her behalf.

Provincial court Judge Brent Stewart said the case was especially difficult given the tragic circumstances, Muthoka’s obvious lack of intent and her glowing background. He said no punishment can undo the damage caused or bring the victims back. The Crown was not seeking a jail sentence.

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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Updated on Monday, September 27, 2010 5:26 PM CDT: Comments restored.

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