There’s a reason why drunk driving crashes are called crashes and not accidents. An accident is something that happens by chance, while a drunk driving crash is an event that’s occurred because someone made the deliberate choice to drink and drive. Provinces all over Canada are recognizing this and improving their drunk driving laws and are now requiring offenders to use an ignition interlock system to stop drinking and driving, so it’s no surprise that Crown is leveling a 5 year prison sentence on a Winnipeg drunk driver who killed a young man in an impaired driving crash.
In November of 2010, Brad Skawretko sped through an intersection at 110 km-h, drove through a red light, and smashed into another vehicle carrying 22-year-old Brett Yasinksy. He suffered severe injuries and died at the hospital.
Mr. Skawretko’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of arrest was .238, which is nearly triple the legal limit in Canada. According to Manitoba impaired driving laws, a first impaired driving offender who causes harm or the death of another person will receive a 5 year driver’s license suspension, may have to forfeit his or her vehicle, pay a minimum of $1,000 in fines, and once his or her license suspension is over, he or she must use an ignition interlock system for at least a year.
This case is getting attention – not only was a young man’s life snuffed out in an instant due to the choice Mr.Skawretko made to drink and drive, but because in Manitoba jail time is rarely given to first offenders who drink and drive. Second offenders will receive a minimum sentence of 30 days.
Although Mr.Skawretko’s lawyer recommended a 2-year jail sentence and cited anti-anxiety medication as a possible reason for his level of impairment, Crown wanted to send a message to all drunk drivers through this case and is recommending he spend 5 years behind bars.
Jail time won’t bring back Brett Yasinsky, but maybe this crash will serve as a lesson for all Canadians – impaired driving crashes can happen to anyone, so don’t be the person who makes the decision to drink and drive.