The need to send a message trumped supportive reference letters Friday as a drunk driver was jailed for broadsiding an unsuspecting couple in a minivan.

Michael Lundy, 22, had more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system at 7 a.m. when he ran a red light at the intersection of Queen’s Boulevard and Highland Road in Kitchener a year ago.

A female passenger in the van he hit had to be extricated by firefighters and spent five days in the hospital with fractured ribs, a collapsed lung and a dislocated shoulder.

Lundy, who had only a minor, unrelated record, wore a dark suit and was backed in court by his parents and several other relatives.

Since the crash, he has graduated from college and landed a job despite struggling with depression due to the damage he caused.

Defence lawyer Sean Safa said Lundy is so remorseful he told a probation officer he wishes he had died in the crash.

Justice Gary Hearn was satisfied punishment isn’t required to stop him from ever getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking again.

But in the hope of deterring others from taking that risk, Hearn imposed a six-month jail term and a two-year driving ban for impaired driving causing bodily harm.

“As noted in numerous cases, offences such as that before the court are typically committed by people who are of good character such as Mr. Lundy,” he told Kitchener court.

A police officer arrived at the crash scene to find Lundy “swaying as he stood and smoked a cigarette.” He had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and seemed to be falling asleep.

Source: Waterloo Region Record