Family reacts to guilty conviction of impaired driver who struck sisters, leaving one dead: ‘This should not have happened’

Family reacts to guilty conviction of impaired driver who struck sisters, leaving one dead: 'This should not have happened'

Anthony Thomas, the driver in a 2018 collision where one woman died and another was partially paralyzed, has been found guilty of all six counts against him.

“Well, it’s a solemn day. A young man has been found guilty of a serious offense and the victim’s family and victims hopefully get some closure from this but it’s not a happy time,” said Crown prosecutor Tim Stokes.

After pleading not guilty, Thomas was convicted of impaired driving causing death, impaired driving, dangerous driving, and having a blood drug concentration of meth in excess of any limit, all counts causing both death and bodily harm on Monday.

The crash happened in Central Saanich in 2018, when Thomas veered out of his lane, across oncoming traffic before hitting sisters Kim and Tracy Ward who were walking their dogs.

Kim and her dog Finn were killed upon impact. Her sister Tracy was taken to hospital in critical condition, where she stayed for months, suffering a massive brain injury that has left her with no sight in one eye and half her body paralyzed.

“Their lives were cut off. Tracy’s life is not quality. I don’t know what [Tracy] would think. But maybe she wishes she would have gone with Kim too you know because she and Kim were best friends, not just sisters,” said Tracy and Kim’s aunt Helene Lavoie from Kingston Ontario to CHEK News. “It was a selfish thing he did that day.”

One hour after the crash, a toxicologist’s report found a ‘toxic’ cocktail of drugs in his blood: 297 nanograms of methamphetamines, 39 nanograms of amphetamines, and 14 nanograms of alprazolam — a benzodiazepine commonly known as Zanax.

In his verdict, Justice Brian Mackenzie sided with the Crown’s argument, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it was the drugs that caused Thomas to experience a crash phase, and fall asleep at the wheel.

“These were young vibrant young ladies. To have their life, well, Kim’s life be cut so short, it’s devastating and hurts a lot,” Lavoie told CHEK News.

“She would have been in Beijing, Kim, doing her thing with the Olympic team, and Tracy had her own business. This should not have happened. This shouldn’t have happened.”

Before sentencing is set, a Gladue report has been ordered— a principle which recognizes that Indigenous people face racism and systemic discrimination in and out of the criminal law system.

“We’ll look at the circumstances of the offender, the circumstances of the offense. We’ll review the pertinent case law and we’ll make a submission to the court about what we think is the appropriate way to sentence,” said Stokes.

According to Stokes, the report could take up to two months. A date for sentencing is expected to be set next week.

Meanwhile, the Ward family has also launched a civil suit to pay for Tracy’s ongoing care.

“He’s got to walk around for four years. He can do what he wants, and he can still do what he wants, but these two people, their lives are just not there anymore,” said Lavoie.

READ MORE: ‘Fault hasn’t been proven’ says defence of man on trial for fatal 2018 Central Saanich crash

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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