Suzanne Jones died while delivering Christmas cards

Julie Jocsak , The St. Catharines Standard
The Robert S. K. Welch Courthouse in St. Catharines.

Suzanne Jones was on her way to deliver Christmas cards to members of her late husband’s band when her life came to a tragic end as she walked along Ferry Street in Niagara Falls.

On Dec. 16, 2016, a car driven by Christopher Harvey went through a stop sign at Sylvia Place and collided with a pickup truck.

The car rotated, mounted the curb, and struck Jones as she walked along the sidewalk.

The 50-year-old early-childhood educator from Hamilton died instantly.

In Ontario Court of Justice in St. Catharines on Wednesday, Harvey was sentenced to six years behind bars.

The 25-year-old was given credit for the time he had spent in pretrial custody — the equivalent of 2.6 years — and will serve an additional three years and two months in jail. He was also banned from driving for 10 years.

“A life was taken away by Mr. Harvey’s conduct,” Judge Ronald Watson said.

“Suzanne Jones’ death was tragic and easily avoidable.”

Jones was on her way to Big Texas to deliver Christmas cards to the band Neon Rain — her late husband Wayne Jones was once a member of the group — when she was struck and killed.

More than 300 people attended a celebration of life service for Jones. Neon Rain performed at the service and held a country music memorial event in her memory.

“Knowing that she touched so many lives only seems to magnify the tragedy of her death,” her sisters wrote in a victim impact statement submitted to the court at a previous appearance.

“Once you were part of her circle, you were there for life and her death has left a huge gap in that circle that will never be closed or filled.”

“She appears to be a wonderful human being, full of life, full of love … the kind of person people should aspire to be,” the judge said, referring to the statement which he called “gut wrenching.”

Harvey, a resident of Welland, was found guilty following a trial in May of dangerous driving causing death and obstructing police.

Court heard the roadway on Sylvia Place was snowy and slushy that night and the car Harvey was driving had bald tires. His girlfriend testified the defendant was driving in an aggressive manner and she had warned him to slow down prior to the crash.

There was no evidence presented at trial to suggest Harvey was impaired by alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash.

The judge said the defendant had a difficult childhood and was the victim of abuse. His life went into a downward spiral after he lost his month-old daughter to sudden infant death syndrome.

Source: The Hamilton Spectator