Former RCMP Inspect. Tim Walton ties police tape at the scene of a multi-vehicle collision at the intersection of Cliffe Avenue and 26th Street July 26, 2016. Black Press File Photo

Comox Valley woman sentenced to jail time for involvement in 2016 collision

Serina Laliberte was sentenced to a total of 25 months in jail

The woman involved in a 2016 collision that killed one and injured two others was sentenced to jail time on Friday.

Serina Laliberte sat in the prisoner’s box in front of a full gallery wearing a flowered shirt as Justice Jeanne Watchuk delivered the 45-minute sentence.

On July 26, 2016, a Nissan Pathfinder travelling north on Cliffe Avenue struck a pedestrian, proceeded to hit two other vehicles near the 26th Street intersection and then crashed into two cars parked in a nearby lot. The pedestrian died at the scene while the drivers of the two vehicles suffered non-life threatening injuries.

In December 2018, the driver of the vehicle, Serina Laliberte, was found guilty of three of nine charges relating to the incident. She was found guilty of having a blood-alcohol content over 0.08 mg/100 ml of blood causing an accident resulting in death and two counts of causing an accident resulting in bodily harm.

Valley woman found guilty on three charges following 2016 collision in Courtenay

Laliberte, 49, was given three sentences, each to be served concurrently for a total of 25 months in prison. She received 25 months imprisonment for count one of having a blood-alcohol content over 0.08 mg/100 ml of blood causing an accident resulting in death. For her two counts of causing an accident resulting in bodily harm, she received two 18-month terms.

Laliberte will also be subject to a five-year driving prohibition to begin after she has completed her jail time.

The victim surcharge was waived.

RELATED: Family members of Comox Valley man killed in 2016 collision deliver victim impact statements

Throughout the 45-minute sentence, Watchuk reviewed some of the facts discussed throughout the trial, as well as the aggravating and mitigating factors that led to the sentence. She discussed how Laliberte was aware of her drinking problem prior to the accident but chose not to seek help, as well as the choice that led her to get behind the wheel on July 26, 2016. However, she also discussed the mitigating factors, such as Laliberte having no previous driving record and her immediate remorse.

Laliberte has been to seven counselling sessions since May 2018, however, Watchuk said there has not been a sustained effort of rehabilitation since the collision and therefore, not sufficient effort to bring the case into exception.

Prior to delivering the sentence, Watchuk spoke about the impacts the collision had on the family of the deceased, as well as the two people who were injured, and condemned the act of drunk driving.

“It is fundamental to the sentencing process that the message be repeatedly sent that not only does society denounce in the strongest possible terms drunk driving, those sentences must act as a deterrent to any who would make such choices, intentional risk-taking that can and do lead to senseless, indescribable tragedies and inconsiderable grief,” she said.

The family of the deceased were seen hugging in the courthouse following the sentence but were not available for comment.

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