IT started with something positive: Two men volunteering to set up sandbags for those affected by a looming spring flood.
But it ended tragically: One man with permanent brain damage, the other facing a stint in prison and a lifetime of regret.
Such is the case of Daniel Dupuis, who was convicted of impaired driving causing bodily harm for an April 2009 crash that forever altered the life of his friend. Dupuis was back in court Monday, where the Crown is seeking four years in prison and a 10-year driving ban. Dupuis, 41, is asking for a penalty of two years behind bars. Queen’s Bench Justice Diana Cameron has reserved her decision until later this year.
“If I could change places with David… I will always have a guilty conscience for what happened to David,” an emotional Dupuis told court Monday.
The 48-year-old victim, David Catellier, suffered catastrophic injuries when the car Dupuis was driving hit a patch of ice and slammed into a sign on St. Anne’s Road in the early morning hours of April 4, 2009. Catellier’s injuries included a fractured spine, several crushed ribs, and he lost part of his scalp.
”I thank God I’m alive,” the victim wrote in a statement read aloud in court by the Crown. He receives 24-hour daily care at a personal-care home and will never make a full recovery. He still struggles with basic tasks such as walking and talking and can no longer work as a welder.
The victim and Dupuis had spent the previous evening laying sandbags, then went to a mutual friend’s home where they consumed several drinks before heading home. Dupuis had a blood-alcohol reading of nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the crash. He was also travelling 100 km/h in a 60 km/h zone, court was told.
“I made a very bad choice. I drove and I shouldn’t have,” Dupuis told court.