But watching Favian Lee-Allert, 20, being escorted out of an emotionally charged courtroom by Stratford police didn’t ease the pain for many of Eric Millar’s family members.
“(Lee-Allert) gets to see his family, right, this is nothing for him,” Millar’s mother, Catherine Lundrigan, said while standing outside the courthouse.
Three years behind bars for the late-October single-car crash was a joint submission on behalf of the Crown and defence lawyer Ramón Petgrave. Ontario Court Justice Robert Rogerson called it “appropriate.”
Millar’s 22-year-old brother, Marc Schoelier, disagreed.
“I’m glad he’s going away. I have some closure, but I think it should have been more than three years,” he said outside the courthouse while sporting a custom white hoodie emblazoned with the words, “Made in Italy, Eric ‘Emillz’ Millar, 1999-2018.”
Tears were flowing on both sides of the packed courtroom as five victim-impact statements were read by Millar’s family and then-girlfriend. Lundrigan’s voice cracked as she talked about her son’s plans that will never come to fruition, such as proposing to his girlfriend and taking a trip to Italy.
“Next week, I will not be able to celebrate my baby’s 20th birthday,” she said.
She called herself shattered glass that will never be repaired.
“What you will get is a short sentence compared to the life sentence you have given me,” she said to Lee-Allert as he sat at a table wearing a white dress shirt with no tie.
Assistant Crown attorney George Christakos referenced that quote during his submissions, and Rogerson told the court he underlined those words as he read her statement.
“That says it all in a nutshell,” Rogerson said.
Lee-Allert pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm in late April, six months after the Chrysler 300 he was driving crashed at the intersection of Embro Road and Erie Street. Petgrave called his client’s guilty pleas “early,” as he had “no recollection of the events of that night,” but a collision reconstruction report convinced him not to go to trial.
Lee-Allert and Millar, a former Burlington resident whose family moved to Stratford, became close friends after meeting in Grade 3.
“Eric was not my friend, he was my brother,” Lee-Allert said while choking back tears as he read from a prewritten statement.
The pair and a third passenger, then-17-year-old Brittany Wright, were coming back from a night out in London on Oct. 28, 2018, when Lee-Allert failed to negotiate a turn around 3:30 a.m., causing the car to roll over multiple times before coming to rest on its roof.
“A very violent crash caused by (a) very high rate of speed and your intoxication,” Rogerson said.
They were taken to hospital, where Millar was pronounced dead. Lee-Allert had two punctured lungs, scrapes and bruises, and Wright, who was not present Friday, suffered a collapsed lung, a concussion, scrapes and bruises.
A breath test at hospital three hours after the crash initially showed Lee-Allert was slightly under the legal limit, but bloodwork police later obtained through a warrant proved he was over the limit.
“I wish I would have never gotten behind the wheel impaired,” Lee-Allert said.
Rogerson also took away his driver’s licence for eight years.
Source: The London Free Press