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This article was published 16/4/2019 (307 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A man who caused a three-vehicle collision in 2017 that injured multiple people — including an eight-year-old boy — has been sentenced to five months in jail.
Brandon Pratt, 29, pleaded guilty in Brandon provincial court on Monday to two counts of operating a motor vehicle in a dangerous manner causing bodily harm.
The incident occurred in the 1000 block of Kirkcaldy Drive near Knowlton Drive on Oct. 3, 2017, Crown attorney Brett Rach said, after Pratt — who was driving a blue Pontiac Grand Prix — failed to stop at a stop sign and struck a vehicle making a left-hand turn.
Pratt lost control of his car upon impact and was propelled further into the road, Rach said, hitting a second vehicle head-on.
The Grand Prix burst into flames after the second crash and Pratt needed to be extricated from the vehicle.
Pratt was driving approximately 100 km/h in the 50-km/h zone, Rach said, and was observed driving in a dangerous manner such as swerving around vehicles and passing them on the shoulder of the road.
His girlfriend, who was one of Pratt’s four passengers in the car, told police they had gotten in an argument in the car and Pratt started driving fast, swerving in and out of lanes.
As the argument continued, his girlfriend recalled Pratt saying, "f—k it, I’ll just kill us then" before they struck the first vehicle, Rach said, however she noted she didn’t think he was serious and that it was just part of the argument.
She also recalled Pratt drinking and taking drugs before driving, Rach said, however a blood sample taken came back showing no indication of alcohol or drugs in his system.
Other than Pratt, his girlfriend was the only passenger in the Grand Prix to be injured, suffering a dislocated hip and bruising to her chest and arms.
She still required a leg brace for a year after the incident, Rach said.
An eight-year-old boy in the vehicle Pratt struck head-on suffered a laceration to his forehead that took five stitches and 15 staples to close.
"He was unconscious immediately after the incident, and when he came to he was asking if what had happened was a dream," Rach said, noting the boy was still suffering from headaches a year after the incident and doesn’t like having his hair short because of the scar.
The boy’s mother and 17-year-old sister both suffered bruising and muscle pain due to the incident.
Pratt had to be airlifted to a hospital in Winnipeg, his lawyer, Andrew McKelvey-Gunson, said, after suffering fractured ribs, internal injuries and brain bleeds.
The road conditions on the day of the incident were good, Rach said, noting the area of the incident is residential and surrounded by a walking path, an elementary school and a playground.
"This isn’t a case where he … was doing everything to be a prudent driver but for one incident such as missing a stop sign," Rach said. "He was voluntarily behaving in a very dangerous manner."
While Rach asked the court to impose a jail sentence of one year, McKelvey-Gunson argued a smaller period of custody served intermittently would be sufficient, due to his lack of criminal record and significant remorse.
"This is someone who has taken full responsibility for what’s happened," McKelvey-Gunson said. "It’s quite clear in the pre-sentence report that Mr. Pratt is remorseful for what happened … he feels very bad and has insight that a child was hurt in this."
Pratt has also taken steps to improve his life, McKelvey-Gunson said, and was open to any counselling or therapy the court might suggest.
"I’m really sorry for my actions, I apologize, I feel horrible for everything that happened," Pratt told the court. "I’m just glad that no one died."
Judge John Combs said that an intermittent sentence was not appropriate in the circumstances and sentenced Pratt to five months in jail, to be followed by 18 months of supervised probation.
"Your driving was egregious, it was dangerous, and you showed a pattern of dangerous driving before this incident occurred," Combs said. "Injuries were incurred by a number of individuals, some more serious than others and perhaps you were the most seriously injured of anyone, but unfortunately your actions resulted in that happening."
Pratt is also prohibited from driving for five years.
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