Dustin Dennis Zinter, was found guilty in a November 2015 incident where a Ladysmith woman was killed. (KARL YU/News Bulletin file)

Apology ‘late’ and ‘weak’ as ‘coward’ gets six years in fatal Vancouver Island crash

Dustin Dennis Zinter guilty of dangerous driving causing 2015 death of Ladysmith woman

A man convicted killing a Ladysmith woman in 2015 will spend six years behind bars.

Dustin Dennis Zinter, who was found guilty earlier this year of dangerous driving causing death, failing to remain at the scene of an accident and failure to provide a breath sample, was sentenced to six years in prison by Judge Robin Baird on Friday, Oct. 12. He also received a five-year driving ban.

Zinter was involved in a head-on collision on Yellow Point Road Nov. 10, 2015, after the Dodge pickup truck he was driving hit a smaller Toyota pickup driven by Heidi Barbara Plato, 51, killing her.

Baird, while handing down the sentence, described the accident as a “horrendous collision” that was “entirely avoidable.” He said Zinter’s inability to remain at the scene was “inhumane.”

Before the sentence was delivered, Zinter addresses the court, apologizing to the family.

“I am sorry. I am sorry,” he said.

However, Baird said Zinter’s apology was “very late” and “weak.”

Speaking to the media afterwards, Nick Barber, Crown counsel, who had sought a six-year sentence, was pleased with the result.

“These kind of offences are more and more common and they need to be taken seriously,” he said.

The total sentencing added up to more than six years, but some of the time will be served concurrently.

During the first day of sentencing Oct. 5, victim impact statements were presented to the court. Pete Vivzari, who was Plato’s partner, called Zinter a coward and then stared him down.

“You’re a coward. You were a coward that night when this happented, when you ran away and hid in the ditch, you were a coward in this courtroom and you’ll always be a coward until you can admit what happened that night,” Vizvari said.

Adrienne Breen said she lost a friend, but the community could have lost anyone that night.

“What a brutal, cruel thing to have to tell our children … We had to tell them Heidi was killed in a preventable accident and we will never see her again,” Breen said. “I hope the root cause of this accident is addressed. The next time you operate a vehicle, I hope you’ll remember our friend Heidi and operate it with care and attention.”

RELATED: Another delay in dangerous driving causing death trial

RELATED: Driver convicted in Ladysmith woman’s 2015 death

RELATED: Closing arguments complete in trial of Nanaimo man

RELATED: Judge loses patience with Nanaimo man representing self

RELATED: Accused in dangerous driving case arrested for missing court

RELATED: Arrest warrant issued in Nanaimo court for man

RELATED: Lawyer fired in Nanaimo courtroom

RELATED: Man charged in fatal 2015 Yellow Point crash

The trial began on June 18, but Zinter fired his legal counsel, Stephen Taylor, after Barber had presented his case and prior to Taylor presenting Zinter’s defence.

Zinter missed a June 28 court date, and Judge Robin Baird, issued a warrant for his arrest and he was subsequently apprehended later in the day.

Zinter decided to represent himself and refuted all of Barber’s claims, stating Plato had veered into his lane. Zinter said he didn’t drink alcohol before the accident, rather he drank after and was not hiding in a ditch, as had been stated during witness testimony, but rather was sitting down. He denied previous statements he had made related to cellphone usage and said records showing multiple calls to his ex-girlfriend were made due to an auto-dialing phone application.

Zinter also said he didn’t provide a breath sample because he thought he was being asked to provide a blood sample and was being asked too many things at once.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

Fire destroys South Island Concrete building in Sooke

No injuries resulted from large structure fire

OUR VIEW: Search and rescue organization needs to be examined

No organization should be immune to scrutiny

Over 100 take the Vancouver Island polar plunge

More than $25,000 raised for BC Special Olympics athletes

Mermen calendar targets ‘toxic masculinity,’ raises big money for charities

Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club gave a cheque for more than $202,000 to Violence Prevention NL

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

UPDATED: ‘Violent’ B.C. man back in custody after Alberta arrest

Prince George man with ties to Vernon was being sought by police

After a week away, SNC-Lavalin questions await MPs returning to Parliament

Two have resigned already: Jody Wilson-Raybould was veterans affairs minister and Gerald Butts was Trudeau’s principal secretary

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

Most Read