The driver in a Central Saanich crash that left one sister dead and another permanently injured was found guilty on six counts of impaired and dangerous driving Monday (March 28).
Anthony Thomas was driving south down Central Saanich Road on Aug. 17, 2018 when he veered across the centre line and into the opposite boulevard, striking sisters Tracey, 48, and Kim Ward, 51, who were out walking their dogs. Kim was pronounced dead at the scene, while Tracey survived with injuries requiring 24-hour care for the rest of her life.
Delivering his judgement in Victoria, Supreme Court of B.C. Justice Brian MacKenzie said he was convinced by the evidence that Thomas was impaired at the time of the crash and had fallen asleep at the wheel.
Forensic toxicologist Kimberly Young testified that samples of Thomas’ blood contained 297 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) of methamphetamine, 39 ng/ml of amphetamine and 14 ng/ml of alprazolam – commonly known as Xanax – at the time of the collision. She described the level of methamphetamine as significant and said if an individual was in the “crash phase” of ingesting it, they would experience extreme drowsiness.
Satisfied that Thomas met the requirements for impaired driving causing death and bodily harm, MacKenzie turned to the dangerous driving charges. They required proving that a reasonable person in Thomas’ circumstances would have known their actions were risky.
If driving after voluntarily ingesting drugs wasn’t enough, shortly before Thomas struck the Ward sisters he rear-ended a different woman in her vehicle. This, the judge determined, would have been an indicator to a reasonable driver that they shouldn’t be on the road.
Finally, Thomas was found guilty of causing an accident resulting in death and in bodily harm, facts agreed upon by both the prosecution and defence early on in the trial.
MacKenzie now awaits pre-sentence and Gladue reports to make his sentencing decision. Gladue reports present circumstances of an Indigenous accused’s life for a judge to take into consideration when deciding on a sentence.
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