N.B. man gets 10 years, loses licence in fatal drunk driving case
A New Brunswick man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and stripped of his driver’s licence for life for killing a woman while driving drunk in Moncton.
Kathy Horsman was driving along Killam Drive on April 17 when she collided head-on with another vehicle near the intersection of Edinburgh Drive.
She was on her way to pick up her daughter from a high school dance at the time.
The 36-year-old Berry Mills woman was rushed to hospital where she was pronounced dead.
The driver of the second vehicle, Boyd Atkinson, had to be extracted from his car.
He was taken to hospital with injuries while a passenger in the vehicle also sustained injuries.
In July, Atkinson pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm.
On Thursday, the Lakeville man was sentenced to 10 years in prison, less seven months already served. He is also banned for life from driving a motor vehicle.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving says the sentence sets a new precedent in the province.
“In the 10 years that I have been volunteering with MADD, it is the longest that I have seen, and it does reflect the gravity of the crime that took place and the consequences of that and the loss to the victim and her family,” says Rhonda O’Blenis of MADD.
Horsman was the mother of two children, who are now eight and 16. They have been forced apart by their mother’s death and now live in different provinces.
Some family members gave emotional victim impact statements in court on Thursday.
"Her life was taken and all that she worked to accomplish was lost," said Horsman's brother-in-law.
"I wonder, what would a cab have cost?" asked her sister.
"Every day is a struggle to get by,” said her brother.
Atkinson had four previous convictions for impaired driving, had an alcohol level far beyond the legal limit, and was driving with a suspended licence at the time of the fatal collision.
He apologized to Horsman’s family in court.
Many people on the streets of Moncton say it’s about the time the court handed out tough sentences for impaired driving.
“There should be a precedent set. I think if somebody is going to repeatedly make the choice to put people’s lives in jeopardy, then they should have an example made out of themselves and they should definitely serve jail time,” says Melanie Laity.
“No amount of time can bring her back or right the wrong, but I mean, he has got a lot of time to think,” says Kathryn MacPherson.
The judge said the sentenced is designed to send a clear message to the public on a serious issue that “cannot be overstated.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell