On July 14, 2012, 63-year-old Elizabeth Sovis and her husband of 34 years, Edmund Aunger, were biking along a road in Prince Edward Island, Canada while on a cycling vacation from Alberta. They were on their way to the bed and breakfast where they were staying. Aunger’s wife never made it to the B&B. She was struck by a 49-year-old drunk driver (who was found to have a blood alcohol level almost three times the legal limit of .08). She died in her husband’s arms by the side of the road.
This week, the driver was sentenced after pleading guilty to impaired driving causing death.
According to a news report last Friday, the Crown asked for an 8-year prison sentence along with a lifetime driving ban. The Defence however proposed a 3 to 4-year prison sentence but asked that the driver be allowed to get his license back at some point because he operates a plumbing and heating company.
*In my most sarcastic voice* Oh the hardship!!!
On Tuesday I was very happy to read here that the judge heeded the Crown’s suggestion (somewhat) and sentenced the man to six years in prison and did indeed ban the man from driving for life.
In delivering his decision, the judge talked about the man’s four previous impaired driving convictions as aggravating factors in the case given that he had his license suspended four times and that still didn’t stop him from drinking and driving the day he killed the cyclist.
The judge did mentioned the driver’s cooperation with police and immediate guilty plea as mitigating factors (ok…I will give him that…he didn’t drag this family through a lengthy court battle) and acknowledged that the driver battles with alcoholism. That being said, the judge also remarked that although alcoholism is a disease, the driver did exercise his free will and choose to drive while drunk…period!
One of the saddest parts of the story is that in his victim impact statement, Aunger said he partially blames himself for his wife’s death because he was riding ahead of her at the time of the crash when normally he would have been riding behind her.
That is what this man is left to live with. He went on a cycling vacation with his wife of 34 years and returned home grief stricken and full of self-blame.
Who’s serving the life sentence here?
Y’all know I am for harsher prison sentences when it comes to impaired driving causing death. I believe we should have a minimum sentence of 10 years (at least). I am somewhat pleased with the six years since it’s definitely higher than the 3 year sentences we’ve been seeing.
But where I really want to commend the judge is on imposing a lifetime driving ban.
I believe this should also be part of the minimum sentences when a person is convicted of impaired driving causing death. When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle drunk and you take someone’s life, you should never be given a second chance to do it again. Not to mention, since the family has to serve a life sentence of grief, it would be fair, if not a smidge comforting, to know that the perpetrator also has to serve something of a life sentence.
For me, to often people convicted of impaired driving cause death are released from prison after serving next to no real time. And then after completing their programs and parole, they go back to life as usual. Yes, they suffer some consequences but at some point, they can put the entire experience behind them and move forward like it never happened. I mean, depending on the sentence type, they can even apply for a pardon after 3 to 10 years.
It’s not right.
It’s not fair.
It’s certainly not justice.
Driving is a privilege, not a right!
If you choose to drive drunk and you take someone’s life, I believe you should have to feel the consequences of that decisions for the rest of your life. And not just in your heart but to experience a physical hardship for the rest of your life.
My question is, why does there have to be aggravating circumstances? In this case, the lifetime driving ban was due in large part to the escalation factor of the drunk driver’s record with four prior DUIs. Why? Why must a lifetime driving ban only occur when there is a prior record?
Isn’t killing someone aggravating factor enough?
And what strikes me as even sadder still is that it was apparent that this guy was a perpetual drunk driver. And it took someone dying before we got him off the road permanently. What could have been done to ensure it didn’t get to this stage?
What do you think? When are lifetime driving bans appropriate? Are they ever? Should we impose them before a drunk driver escalates to the point of killing someone? I’d love to hear your thoughts?
Although I’ve stated my position pretty firmly, I want you to know that I am open to hearing from the other side of the coin so don’t be shy…if you disagree; you are more than welcome to voice your opinion and know you’ll be respected!
Text MADD to 45678 to donate $5 today. Report impaired drivers – CALL 911.
More blog deliciousness here:
For the month of November and December, I am proud to be taking part in the Holiday Yum Blog Hop where a group of uber bloggers will regale you with recipes and funny cooking stories.
This week’s highlights:
- December 2: Estee Lavitt’s Latke L’Latke L’Hop in the Pan – Holiday Yum Chanukah Baked Latke Recipe!
- December 5: Yours truly with French Lace Cookies
- November 17: Jenny Hansen’s Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Meal – talk about an extravaganza!
- November 19: Kathy Owen’s Spiced Pecans – OMG I so want to try these.
- November 26: Ellen M. Gregg’s Chocolatiest Chocolate Cake Evah (and lemonade) – how will I EVER follow a diet now?
- November 28: Jenny Hansen’s Almond Roca…I hear it’s to DIE for!
Stay tuned for:
- December 10: Kathy Owen’s Butter Spritz Cookies
- December 14: Ellen M. Gregg’s Old-fashioned Buttermilk Sugar Cookies (with Christmas punch)
- December 17: I am back with a recipe for Cheesecake that is so simple but even I messed it up once
- December 19: Jenny Hansen’s Holly Candy
- December 23: Jess Witkins will entice us with either some comfort food or appetizer
- December 26: Kathy Owen will come through with beef rib-eye roast with currant jelly brown gravy
- December 28: I will give you some fabulous Mocktail options for your New Year’s Eve parties
Be sure to check out our ever uberlicious host, Kathy Owen’s Holiday Yum page and leave her some blog hop luv!