A wild drive along Ospika Boulevard that led to the death of a pedestrian two-and-a-half years ago has resulted in an 18-month sentenced for an elderly Prince George woman.
Tears welling in her eyes, Sandra Cassidy, 71, appeared resigned to the outcome as she stood before provincial court judge Michael Gray on Thursday.
Cassidy had pleaded guilty to to criminal negligence causing death, dangerous driving causing death and failing to remain at the scene of an accident in the Jan. 30, 2010 death of Stanley Heavysides, 48.
Driving a sport utility vehicle, Cassidy ran over the man twice near the corner of Ospika and Melody Crescent and, according to witnesses, likely would have run over him a third time if another driver had not blocked her path with his car.
The incident was part of a bizarre sequence that began when Cassidy, who was returning home from a curling bonspiel in Prince George, slid past a stop sign on Ferry Avenue, where there was light snow, and into a northbound lane on Ospika, according to court testimony.
That forced an oncoming driver to veer around her and Cassidy then appeared to punch the gas and went into a series of twists and turns that saw her twice cross over the boulevard's median, going airborne each occasion and striking a sign in front of the Centaur Villa apartment block.
After striking Heavysides, Cassidy drove off but her licence plate was knocked off and remained at the scene.
She was arrested at her Chestnut Drive home in the Hart Highlands about a half-hour later. When police showed up, she broke into tears and put out her hands to be cuffed, the court heard.
Cassidy was unable to provide a breath sample at the scene and was taken to the Prince George RCMP detachment where she blew 130 and 120 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millitres of blood, four hours after the incident.
Defence lawyer David Jenkins had urged Gray to take Cassidy's age into consideration and go easy on her while acknowledging that federal legislation has taken the option of a conditional sentence, where the term is served at home, out of the court's hands.
Crown prosecutor Lara Vizsolyi had recommended two years in jail.
Jenkins had argued Cassidy's actions were sparked by a "transitory mental state" brought on by the stress of dealing with a son who, for a time, was deeply in debt to dealers as a result of a heavy addiction to cocaine.
Cassidy went on the tear because she thought she had been struck from behind by drug-dealing gangsters and was trying to get away, the court was told.
Gray accepted that Cassidy was in a state of panic and took evasive action because she honestly believed her SUV had been hit.
But he also found the incident on Ospika lasted for many minutes, that Cassidy left the scene which frustrated the police investigation and that she was ultimately responsible for her actions.
Cassidy must also serve two years probation once she's completed her jail term and her licence was pulled for five years, starting with the end of the jail sentence.
Heavysides's sisters, Carol DeClercq and Linda Wasnik, expressed relief that the court process is finally over and said the sentence was a fair one.
"I have some empathy with Ms. Cassidy but then I wouldn't have been happy with any lesser sentence," DeClercq said.
Friends and family described Heavysides as a gentle, friendly man that everyone liked.