A drunk driver who blew a stop sign and crashed into another car — seriously injuring its driver — has been sent to prison.
The woman who was driving the struck car was returning home after attending her sister’s birthday party, and was doing nothing wrong.
“She was an innocent motorist, minding her own business, when she was hit by Mr. Kawohl,” Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta said.
James Earl Kawohl, 27, was sentenced in Brandon provincial court on Monday for impaired driving causing bodily harm.
Kawohl was at a gathering at a 27th Street home in the evening of July 7, 2011, when he got into an argument and left. He jumped in his car and sped off north, went through a stop sign at the corner of 27th Street and Rosser Avenue and hit another car driven by a woman.
The impact sent the woman’s car into a sideways skid for 24 feet and spun it 180 degrees. Kawohl’s heavily damaged car ended up in a front yard against a tree.
The Jaws of Life had to be used to remove both drivers from the wrecks.
Tests placed Kawohl’s blood-alcohol level at more than double the legal limit about three hours after the crash. However, calculations estimated that his level was as high as three times the legal limit at the time of the collision.
The woman in the other car suffered broken ribs, bruises and scratches.
She was off work from her two jobs for months, and underwent extensive physiotherapy. For a time, she needed help 24 hours a day as she couldn’t perform simple day-to-day tasks.
Kawohl also failed to attend court on March 12, 2012, an oversight that is part of the reason the case took so long to resolve.
Hewitt-Michta sentenced Kawohl to two years in prison to be followed by 18 months of probation. He’s also banned from driving for four years.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 7, 2014