A Toronto man was travelling so fast when his vehicle collided with another vehicle on Highway 17 in the Markstay-Warren area that he rolled “maybe 20 times” according to a witness.
“I just want to say I figure I was poisoned,” David Gagnon, 32, told Ontario Court Justice Normand Glaude in Sudbury. “I have never driven that fast. I am glad no one else was hurt.”
Glaude went along with a joint submission suggested sentence by the Crown and defence lawyer Renee Gregor of a $2,000 fine and one-year licence suspension.
However, he opted against a Crown request for probation on top of the two penalties.
“Not because you don’t deserve it,” Glaude said. “Your driving was horrendous. You could have killed somebody.”
Gagnon had pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving laid back on April 4, 2015.
The court heard Ontario Provincial Police received about the driver of an eastbound white Chevrolet vehicle speeding on Highway 17 in Markstay-Warren.
Police officers were told the driver was passing other vehicles in an unsafe manner, almost causing a head-on collision, before colliding with an eastbound Kia Forte.
The white Chevrolet turned out to be an Equinox, and rolled numerous times before coming to rest.
While the driver of the Kia Forte was shaken up but uninjured, Equinox driver Gagnon ended up being taken to hospital.
The Kia Forte driver told police the Equinox driver was coming up behind him at a high rate of speed and he tried to react to avoid being hit, but couldn’t.
The driver said the Equinox rolled “maybe 20 times – a lot.”
Both vehicles were heavily damaged, and the Kia was completely written off. The Kia driver received some insurance coverage money for the loss, but was still out about $8,000, assistant Crown attorney Andrew Slater said.
An OPP accident reconstruction team was able to retrieve the black box from the Equinox’s engine. Based on the readings obtained from the device, the team concluded the Equinox was traveling 179 kilometres/hour just before the air bags deployed and the brakes were applied.
Gregor said Gagnon was speeding, but disputed the estimated speed figure the Crown brought up.
“We do not accept 179 km/hr as the speed,” she said. “On that day in question, he was travelling to Sudbury. He was feeling very ill. That was the reason for his accelerated rate of speed.”
Gregor added Gagnon spent two weeks in hospital recovering from significant head injuries and fractured ribs. She added the Equinox was also a write-off.
“This conviction will have significant insurance implications for him,” said Gregor, who also pointed out the province will likely issue a three-year driving suspension of its own to Gagnon.
The court heard Gagnon, who works as an ironworker, had an impaired driving conviction in 2010.
Source: The Sudbury Star