Scott Nicholas Lundrigan, 22, sat quietly in Supreme Court in Port Hawkesbury as statements were read by members of the victim’s family.
Lundrigan will now spend two years in a federal prison after pleading guilty to impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm related to a single-vehicle accident Oct. 23, 2015 in Newtown, Inverness Co.
James Daniel Poirier, 19, of Port Hawkesbury was killed after he was ejected from the rear of the cab of a small pickup truck. A second 19-year-old from Port Hastings was seriously injured.
“This is very much the story of lives interrupted and a bright light extinguished suddenly and painfully with very traumatic consequences for all involved,” said Justice Robin Gogan as she accepted a joint recommendation by both the Crown and defence.
“There is certainly more grief in the particular circumstances of this case than any family or community should ever have to bear.”
The court heard that after a night of drinking and socializing, Lundrigan headed out on a dark and slick road with two passengers. The vehicle would leave the payment and strike a utility pole shortly before 2 a.m.
Following the crash, Lundrigan admitted to police that he had been drinking. It was later confirmed through forensic testing that his blood alcohol concentration was over the legal limit.
RCMP analysts later determined that the crash was caused by pooling water on the roadway and excessive speed due to Lundrigan’s level of impairment.
James Poirier was remembered Monday as a kind-hearted young man who was wise beyond his years. A well-rounded athlete, Poirier particularly loved the sport of basketball and was planning a future with his girlfriend of five years.
Prior to his death, Poirier had completed one year of a welding program at NSCC in Port Hawkesbury.
Debbie Long said she is still haunted by visions of her son lying on the ground on a cold, wet night.
“I wanted to be the one to catch him in the air,” Long said. “Our James was happy and whole when he passed. I want to go back in time and change that night, I want to hear him come through the door and talk to me about his day or how his night was. I want to hold his face and tell him I love him like I did every day of his life.”
As part of his sentence, Lundrigan must serve two-years probation following his release. He will be place on strict conditions that will include a 12-month curfew, urine testing and 120 hours of community service. The Crown has also referred Lundrigan to restorative justice to aid in his rehabilitation following time served.
Lundrigan said nothing when given the opportunity to speak, although his defence lawyer said he has shown remorse for his actions and wishes it was he who died that night.
Outside the courtroom, Long said she believes that if Lundrigan was really remorseful he would have taken the opportunity to say something prior to his sentencing.
Attending the proceedings Monday in support of Poirier’s family was Anissa Aldridge, Atlantic director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Aldridge said she was a bit disappointed with Lundrigan’s punishment, saying she expected it to fall within the three- to five-year sentencing range.
“I understand it was a joint-recommendation and of course respect the judge’s decision as well but two years is not a lot of time,” said Aldridge. “We’ve done a great job of raising awareness of the crime of impaired driving but we clearly still have a lot of work to do.”
As part of his criminal proceedings, Lundrigan was originally committed to stand trial in March on four charges related to the crash, but instead pleaded guilty to two offences.