Feb 15, 2013 - SURREY DRUNK DRIVER GETS THREE YEARS FOR KILLING A WOMAN AND INJURING ANOTHER

Grieving mother Diana Usak holds photo of her daughter Vanessa Usak, who was killed by a drunk driver in Surrey.


The sister of a Surrey man who was sentenced Friday to three years in prison for killing a young woman and badly injuring another while driving drunk says he should never have been issued a driver’s license after suffering a brain injury in 1988.

If an adult gives a child a gun, and that child shoots someone, a tearful Tracey Jenkins asked, "Do you blame the adult, or blame the child?"

"He should never have had a drivers licence since the accident in 1988," she sobbed, after her brother was led away by the sheriffs. "Anger is all he feels."

Stephen Fraser Jenkins, 42, was found guilty of impaired driving and dangerous driving causing the death of Vanessa Usak, 23, and bodily harm in the case of her passenger Andrea Punt.

He was also banned from driving for life.

The crash happened July 19, 2008, on 108th Avenue near 144A Street in Guildford.

Surrey provincial court Judge Paul Dohm found that Jenkins crossed the double centre line, crashing into the car Usak was driving. The court heard both drivers' blood alcohol level was over the legal limit. Neither driver braked.

The court heard Jenkins was an honour roll student at North Delta Senior Secondary, and aspired to pursue a career in engineering after attending university, until he suffered a brain injury during a traffic crash in 1988 that killed his best friends and left him the sole survivor.

Since then, he racked up an abysmal driving record containing 25 violations - reckless driving, 24-hour driving prohibitions and crossing over centre lines among his infractions - over 16 years.

Crown prosecutor Susannne Elliott argued for a prison term of four to five years for Jenkins for his "deliberate, intentional risk-taking behaviour."

"This was no fleeting failure in judgment," she said, adding his driving while impaired before the deadly 3 a.m. crash was akin to him walking down 108th and firing a handgun at random.

"Mr. Jenkins has not demonstrated any remorse," Elliott charged. "Mr. Jenkins hasn't showed any insight into his crime."

Vanessa Usak's mother, Diana Usak, quaked while reading her victim impact statement in court. "They say they heard me screaming for two blocks away," she said, recalling being told by police that her daughter had been taken to Royal Columbian Hospital. "I still sleep with Vanessa's ashes close by."

Jenkin's lawyer, Marvin Stern, argued for a prison sentence of two to three years. The crash in 1988 changed him, Stern said, like "night and day."

"The organic brain damage that he suffered is a significant factor for your honour to consider," Stern said.

Before delivering the sentence, Dohm called it a "difficult, sad and unpleasant case."

"No one wins and everyone loses," he said. "There is no greater pain known to mankind than the sudden loss of a child."

Friends and family of the victims packed the courtroom, carrying pink silk roses. Some individuals traded verbal barbs with Jenkins between court sessions Friday.

For Diana Usak, his sentence wasn't long enough. "It's too bad he didn't get longer," she said. "I'd like to see him have life in prison."

Source: Surrey Now


 

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