Erin Wright was arrested in October after an investigation into the death of Debra Graves, a 63-year-old New Brunswick woman who was in town for work. Wright pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death on Thursday.
An agreed statement of facts presented in court revealed on Oct. 4, Wright had consumed at least seven shots of tequila in a two-hour period at the St. Louis Bar & Grill at Fairview Mall before getting in her grey Nissan Rogue around 11 p.m. and driving off.
Around that time, Graves and a co-worker were walking on the sidewalk on York Mills Road returning to their hotel, the Westin Prince, when Wright’s car jumped the curb and hit Graves from behind. The co-worker managed to move out of the way and avoid being hit.
Both the co-worker and police performed CPR on Graves, but she died at the scene.
Wright sped off and ended up sleeping in her car on a side street. She called her friend in the morning and said she thought she had hit a pole.
That morning, she brought her car to an auto body shop in East York to be fixed. Police later seized the vehicle and found evidence linking it to the incident.
The judge said Wright was not aware she had hit a person, and the Crown did not dispute that fact. For that reason, a charge of failure to remain at the scene of a collision was dropped.
Erin Wright plead guilty to impaired driving causing death. Wright drank at least 7 shots of tequila and stumbled out of a bar, got into her car and ran down Debra Graves who was walking on the sidewalk with a friend.
Sentenced to 5-yrs jail and a 4-yr driving ban. pic.twitter.com/fPBUlrfL09
— marianne boucher (@CityCourtsTO) May 10, 2018
Graves’s daughters, Caitlin and Sarah Crawford, said they were devastated by their mother’s death and both see psychologists for PTSD, anxiety, depression and panic attacks. They’ve also been beset by financial problems due to funeral and legal expenses and because Sarah has been unable to work.
“Reality for us has been a complete nightmare since the day mom was killed,” they said in a victim impact statement.
“People tend to say that grief comes in waves but our grief and longing for our mother has been constant. For the first few months we just sat in silence sobbing … It hasn’t gotten better and I don’t think it ever will.”
They also said they feel their mother was stolen from them and they are “heartbroken.”
“Our mother was the true centre and rock for our family,” they said. “We have lost our family’s leader. She took care of everyone. She was resilient. She was beautiful. She was creative … We miss everything about her.”
Wright’s lawyer Clayton Ruby told the court she has been sober since the crime and suggested her state of mind may have been a factor.
Both of her parents had died and she had lost her job shortly before the incident.