An Okanagan woman who sent a motorcycle rider to hospital for two months, and caused injuries that required him to relearn how to walk, was sentenced to 14 days in jail Thursday, in Princeton court.
Shelley Hanson, 47, told the court that she “honestly wished this never happened and I would gladly trade places with the gentleman [who was injured].”
Hanson was charged with impaired driving causing bodily harm, causing an accident resulting in bodily harm and driving while prohibited, following a fiery crash in June 2017, on Highway 3 near Hedley.
She pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention, and received a joint sentencing recommendation from defence counsel and the crown.
“There were some problems with crown’s case and some concerns of proving the impaired charges on this matter,” crown attorney Ann Lerchs told the court.
The court heard Hanson pulled out in front of the motorcycle on the highway, and while the rider attempted to swerve to avoid her vehicle, he clipped its front tire.
The victim was thrown from the bike and was laying near both vehicles when they burst into flames, said Lerchs.
“People ran to help,” she said. “They grabbed him by the arms and pulled him…away from the fire.”
Lerchs said a passerby took a video of the scene, showing Hanson later getting into another vehicle, “but she did not leave the scene.”
The motorcycle rider was airlifted to hospital.
“The operator of the motorcycle was injured fairly seriously,” said Lerchs. “He spent a month in hospital in Kelowna, a month in hospital in Alberta, had two surgeries and was working on recovering and learning to walk.”
Defense attorney Norman Yates said Hanson has suffered and took a leave of absence from work, “in large measure because of emotional and psychological things that she has experienced following the accident, following the death of her husband and some other things that have gone on in her life.”
Hanson wrote a letter to the court, which was received by Judge Greg Koterbash but was not read aloud.
She told Koterbash she has had “multiple panic attacks since this happened.”
The judge accepted the sentencing recommendations, and allowed the 14 days to be served intermittently on weekends, as Hanson cares for her elderly mother.
“I think you can appreciate you dodged a pretty big bullet here,” he said. “The fortunate aspect is that you are both still alive. Looking at your record I am hoping that you are not driving anymore.”
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