A Nanaimo man has been sentenced for hitting and killing a pedestrian more than a year ago.
On Monday, Brandon Murdoch, 35, pleaded guilty in Nanaimo provincial court to driving without due care and attention.
On March 6, 2019, Eric Shim, 17, was struck and killed while attempting to cross Hammond Bay Road in Nanaimo.
The 17-year-old was in a marked crosswalk not long after school had been let out for the day.
In an agreed statement of facts, the court heard that a witness saw Shim look both ways before entering the crosswalk.
The witness said the driver of a RAV4 appeared to not slow down before striking the teen, who was then cartwheeled in the air before hitting the ground.
Shim was airlifted to Victoria where he died in hospital six days later.
An RCMP traffic reconstructionist determined the driver was travelling at least 43 km/h when the collision occurred.
In the months following the fatal crash, friends started a petition calling for safety upgrades to the crosswalk.
The court also heard that while at the scene, Murdoch told police that he didn’t mean to hit the teenager and he “didn’t see him.”
A blood sample showed that Murdoch wasn’t legally impaired by alcohol but close to it. It also showed that he had prescription drugs in his system.
In a victim impact statement, which was read by the judge in court, Eric Shim’s mother said the event has forever changed her life.
“He was my only child,” she said in her statement, which was read in court by the judge. “All my hopes and dreams for his future were taken away from me and I’m left with nothing but overwhelming grief. I’m haunted by memories of my son.”
Murdoch’s lawyer, Bert King, stressed that his client had been and continues to battle Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that developed as a result of his time in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Murdoch was honourably discharged from the armed forces and he’s been getting psychiatric treatment and battling alcohol addiction since, according to King.
“He’s been taking a whole bunch of psychological and psychiatric counselling over the last 10 years and he acknowledged although while not speeding he was not paying attention . . . He should’ve been paying better attention,” said King.
Murdoch has no previous criminal record and told the judge he was sorry for his actions.
In the end, the judge issued Murdoch a $2,000 fine, a $300 victim impact surcharge and a two-year driving prohibition, noting that the 35-year-old has not driven since the crash.
Although Crown sought a jail sentence, the judge was convinced it was not in Murdoch’s best interest due to his rehabilitation efforts.
Murdoch is currently in a treatment home, where he plans to remain until February.