Canada: night out to a bar left three dead; now its time for Clarke Harding to pay the piper — 5 years in prison for Clarke Harding
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RIDE WITH AN IMPAIRED DRIVER; BUY A TICKET TO YOUR OWN FUNERAL
FROM Winnipeg Free Press
2013-11-05 — A man who killed three people while driving drunk in southern Manitoba has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Clarke Harding, 32, was also hit with a 10-year driving ban at Monday afternoon’s hearing. The Crown had asked for six years behind bars, while Harding was seeking just a three-year penalty.
Provincial court Judge Tracey Lord said this is yet another tragic example of the devastating consequences of impaired driving.
“He is, by all accounts, a good and kind person who made a horrible decision,” said Lord. “I accept his remorse is genuine and he feels immense guilt.”
Harding was the only survivor of the January 2012 head-on crash in Sanford, southwest of Winnipeg.
Harding was driving a Chrysler Sebring when he crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic and struck a Nissan pickup truck on Highway 3. The truck’s driver, Paul Kler, 64, died instantly. Ellory Kirkwood, 20, and Michelle Hastings, 21, died in hospital; they were both passengers in Harding’s vehicle.
“I still wish every day I could trade places with them,” Harding told court during sentencing submissions earlier this fall. “I don’t feel lucky that I lived. I wish I could take it all back. I know I don’t deserve your forgiveness. I just want you to know that I’m sorry.”
Harding had pleaded guilty to three counts of impaired driving causing death. He had a blood-alcohol reading between .095 and .114. The legal limit for driving is .08.
Kirkwood, Hastings and Harding were friends. They’d spent the evening out at a bar. Harding was the designated driver. Although he drank some alcohol, Harding believed it wouldn’t affect him.
“No doubt Mr. Harding feels terrible, is genuinely remorseful, but the ….MORE