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

Sooke’s John Muir community school garden is a growing experience

Children thrive as they learn about the source of their food

Sidney Mounties and Saanich PD nab break and enter suspect

Police forces work together to arrest and charge Saanich resident

Risk of thunderstorms in Wednesday’s forecast

Plus a look ahead at the weekend forecast

Juan de Fuca Marine Trail re-opens after lengthy repairs

The trail has been closed since February

Council pursues water line extension for north Sooke

Properties affected by Highway 14 project may see water service

VIDEO: B.C. First Nation plans to launch legal challenge after Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, Premier John Horgan says he’ll continue to defend the B.C. coast

Federal cabinet ministers visit Edmonton, Calgary, in wake of TMX approval

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi is set to visit Trans Mountain Corp.’s terminal in Edmonton

B.C. municipality prepares to forbid overnight camping by homeless despite court ruling

While courts have ruled against blanket bans, Langley City is employing a site-by-site approach

B.C. auditor says Indigenous grad rate highest ever but education gaps exist

The percentage of Indigenous students graduating from B.C. public high schools has hit its highest level ever

Statistics Canada reports annual pace of inflation rises in May to 2.4%

Transportation prices gained 3.1 per cent as the cost of air transportation added 8.9 per cent

BREAKING: Forest fire on North Island disrupts Hwy. 19

Wildfire has reached .25 hectares, according to BC Wildfire Service

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Most Read