N.S. woman sentenced to 5 years in prison for killing man while driving impaired
A young Nova Scotia woman convicted of impaired driving causing death has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Kyla MacLellan also received a 36-month concurrent sentence for impaired driving causing bodily harm.
The 21-year-old Lake Echo woman pleaded guilty to both charges earlier this year.
MacLellan was behind the wheel when she collided head-on with another vehicle in Lawrencetown, N.S. the morning of July 10, 2013.
The driver of the other vehicle, 55-year-old Mark Burnett, was on his way to work at the time.
MacLellan and her friend were thrown from their vehicle but Burnett was trapped inside his. He was eventually extricated and sent to hospital, but was pronounced dead upon arrival.
Last week, the court heard MacLellan had been drinking with some friends at Lawrencetown Beach overnight. She left the beach to take a friend home so she could get a key to her boyfriend before he left for work.
MacLellan and her friend made it safely to the apartment and, once the boyfriend had left for work, MacLellan got behind the wheel again as she wanted to watch the sunrise.
That’s when she collided with Burnett’s car.
“We heard in court, unfortunately, that the offender decided to go out a second time to watch the sunrise and really was aware of her situation and her inability to drive,” says Anissa Aldridge, president of the Halifax chapter of MADD Canada.
MacLellan suffered a broken leg in the collision and still requires more surgery. Her friend also broke her leg, as well as her jaw.
In addition to prison time, MacLellan is also prohibited from driving for 10 years after serving her sentence.
The victim’s wife, Andrea Burnett, says she hopes others learn from MacLellan’s mistake and make better decisions.
“I hope that she can get rehabilitated. She’s only young,” says Andrea. “But I’m hoping all her friends take to heart what’s happened and that they realize they don’t want to be in that position.”
Aldridge says Canadians need to take drinking and driving more seriously and is calling for tougher sentences for impaired drivers.
“Four Canadians every single day are killed and it’s not an accident,” says Aldridge. “It’s a crash. It’s preventable.”
Burnett was a husband, father and grandfather. He served in the Navy and was less than two years away from retirement.
“I don’t know what else to say, except I’m going to miss my husband for the rest of my life,” says Andrea.
“We have to stop this. We can’t keep losing loved ones. This is hurting everyone.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jacqueline Foster