B.C. man receives prison time for hit-and-run death
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, December 22, 2012 12:46PM PST
Last Updated Saturday, December 22, 2012 1:00PM PST
VERNON, B.C. -- A Coldstream, B.C. man will spend 32 months in prison for the hit-and-run death of a 22-year-old woman whose body was found in a ditch the next morning.
Chase Garrett Donaldson was sentenced Friday for dangerous driving causing death and failing to remain at the April 2010 crash that killed Kiera-Leigh Carlson.
Court heard that Donaldson was speeding through the B.C. Interior municipality, north of Kelowna, when he failed to turn a corner, crossed into the oncoming lane and struck the woman who was walking on the road shoulder about 9 p.m.
Search-and-rescue crews found her at 6 a.m. the next day.
The woman's mother, Bev Carlson, read a victim impact statement in B.C. Supreme Court in Vernon before the sentencing, prompting Donaldson to break down sobbing.
The mother spoke about the last time she saw her youngest daughter and the agonizing hours that passed while she, her husband and her daughter's co-workers could not find her.
"Those were the longest hours of my life. We knew something horrible had happened to our baby girl," she said, choking back tears.
"Personally, I thought she had been abducted and was being raped and tortured."
Her daughter's body was found 30 minutes after her parents left the search site.
The mother said the next few days were mind-numbing.
"It was in those first few days the nightmares started," she told a courtroom full of supporters, most of whom were also holding back tears.
"I saw my baby girl flying through the air. As Kiera was flying through the air, she called out `Mom!' She was calling for help, but I could not do anything. Every morning, I grieve and think I will not hear or see my baby girl today."
Donaldson, who has two children aged three and five and is expecting a third in the summer, held his head in his hands and wept throughout the statement.
Later in the proceedings he stood in the prisoner's box, faced the Carlsons, and offered his first apology.
He said he thinks about what happened "every day, and I am truly sorry. Not a day goes by that I don't wish it didn't happen."
Donaldson said he could not comprehend the pain the family is going through.
"I know you can never forgive me and I can't blame you, but I am deeply, deeply sorry."
Donaldson was sentenced to 14 months in jail for the dangerous driving charge and 18 months in jail for leaving the scene of the accident. He will also be prohibited from driving for three years.
The judge had harsh words for the man who did not summon emergency officials. Donaldson did call 911 shortly after the accident, but hung up without speaking, fearing the repercussions of his actions and forcing an hours-long search.
Donaldson could be eligible for parole in 10 months.