Canada
Drunk driver gets five years in jail after killing his friend

Ron Lambert was killed in a horrific drunk driving crash last June on PTH 384 near Moose Lake.

Credits: HANDOUT PHOTO

JAMES TURNER | QMI AGENCY

WINNIPEG -- A Moose Lake, MB, man who killed his friend in a horrific drunk-driving crash while speeding home from a liquor store will spend the next five years in prison.

Kelvin Knight, 47, will serve a sentence of 5.5 years after previously pleading guilty to impaired driving causing Ron Lambert's death and impaired driving causing bodily harm.

Knight had two prior impaired-driving convictions at the time of the fatal June 9, 2011, rollover near Moose Lake.

RCMP found his blood-alcohol level to be .29 -- well over three times the legal limit. He had no driver's licence.

After a day of drinking, Knight, his sister and Lambert, 40, were making the 65-kilometre trip back home from a booze run, provincial court Judge Larry Allen wrote in a recent decision.

"I kept telling him to slow down, but he wouldn't listen," Knight's sister later told RCMP.

Just north of Moose Lake, Knight's speeding vehicle left the road and rolled several times.

RCMP encountered an intoxicated Knight and his sibling -- both injured -- walking on the road.

Both initially told an RCMP officer they were certain there was no one else in the vehicle and Knight said his sister was driving, Allen said.

The woman eventually took a cop aside and said Lambert was also in the car and that it was Knight behind the wheel.

Lambert was found by police in the bush about 40 feet away from the crash site. He was conscious, but died in hospital days later.

Data from the vehicle showed six seconds before the air bags deployed, Knight was travelling at 136 km/h in an 80 km/h zone and didn't hit the brakes, Allen said.

"Mr. Knight's crime was not spontaneous. It was conducted over a relatively long drive," Allen said. "Mr. Knight had a lengthy period to recognize that what he was doing was dangerous. This was not a momentary lapse of judgment."

Knight, whom Allen accepted hails from a disadvantaged aboriginal community and has a troubled background, filed several letters of support from people who worked with him at a rehab facility.

Knight lived and underwent extensive treatment at the facility after being released on bail in November.

The victim's wife also told the Crown she felt Knight had suffered from what happened and didn't necessarily want him behind bars, Allen said.

However, the seriousness of Knight's conduct outweighed factors in his favour, Allen ruled.

Allen also barred Knight from driving anywhere in Canada for 15 years.

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