A man who fell asleep behind the wheel of a van and killed a man and woman on a motorcycle has been fined a total of $8,000 and banned from driving for two years.
The sentence was too low for the victims’ families who had previously called for jail, or at least probation, for the driver.
“There’s nothing — I mean, two years not driving?” remarked Nicole Youzwa, the sister of Jared Youzwa, who was killed in the collision.
Shawn Bradley Dreveski was sentenced in Brandon court on Tuesday, after previously pleading guilty to two counts of careless driving causing death under the Highway Traffic Act.
Crown attorney Marnie Evans agreed to drop two counts of dangerous driving causing death under the Criminal Code as it was felt there would be no liklihood of conviction on those charges.
While the HTA charges still carried a possible jail term of up to two years, Evans and defence lawyer Ryan Fawcett both recommended fines to the court. Evans, who also asked the judge to impose a lengthy driving ban, pointed to Dreveski’s lack of prior related record.
Dreveski was charged for a July 12, 2013, crash that killed Youzwa, 26, and Ngan Nguyen, 25.
Youzwa was from East Selkirk and Nguyen was born and raised in Winnipeg. The couple was on their way to attend a wedding in Saskatchewan at the time of the crash.
Dreveski was driving a work van south on Highway 270, just west of Brandon, when he fell asleep and ran a stop sign at the intersection with the Trans-Canada Highway.
Witnesses said the van didn’t stop and passed through the stop sign at about 20 km/h and into the intersection.
Youzwa was driving a Harley-Davidson motorcycle west along the Trans-Canada as Nguyen rode as a passenger behind him. Youzwa couldn’t avoid the van and hit it near the driver’s door.
Both motorcycle riders were thrown. Youzwa died instantly while Nguyen died in the evening.
Dreveski’s van entered the ditch and hit a pole. He was taken to hospital with a broken arm.
When Dreveski entered his pleas in mid-July, Fawcett told court that his client was left homeless after an apartment fire and had been sleeping in the back of his small SUV in the week leading up to the crash.
The delivery driver was exhausted on the afternoon of the crash, as he returned home to Brandon from a run to Shoal Lake. Along the way, he pulled over in Newdale and Rivers to rest.
He called his boss to tell him he was tired, but was told to “do what he can,” so Dreveski opted to finish his work and had travelled along back roads to avoid traffic.
As he delivered his sentence, Judge Donovan Dvorak said Dreveski made a poor choice to drive while tired, which can have many of the same effects on a driver as being impaired by drugs or alcohol.
“Mr. Dreveski had a choice not to drive,” Dvorak said. “There’s a duty on all drivers to ensure they are alert and capable of operating a motor vehicle without risk to others.”
Dvorak fined Dreveski $4,000 on each of the careless driving causing death counts and suspended his driving privileges for two years.
» Twitter: @IanHitchen
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 20, 2014