Jared DeJong sentenced to 5 years in prison for killing Western student
A London man who drove impaired and killed a first-year Western student last October, has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Jared DeJong, 25, was driving when his vehicle left the road and struck Andrea Christidis, 18, on Oct. 7, 2015.
When DeJong pleaded guilty, an agreed statement of facts stated DeJong was on campus drinking with friends at the campus pub for three or four hours.
Witnesses said road conditions at the time were "perfect" and that DeJong's vehicle was seen travelling very fast and at one point cut in front of an public transit bus.
Video from the bus also showed him driving on the wrong side of the road.
The car went through two intersections without stopping, causing other drivers had to take evasive action, before it jumped the curb and struck Christidis, throwing her 10 metres.
She died two days later in hospital.
At the time of his arrest, DeJong blew over twice the legal limit.
Along with the prison term, DeJong was also given a 10-year driving ban.
The Crown had sought a five-year prison sentence for Dejong, while defence lawyers had called for two years behind bars and three years of probation.
Dejong's lawyer said Thursday that the five-year sentence came as no surprise and said his client was determined to "make something positive" from the tragedy.
"It is a sad case for both the Christidis family as well as the Dejong family. And I can speak for my client and his family when I say that they are truly sorry for the loss of Andrea," Jim Dean told The Canadian Press.
"We can only hope that this will make someone else think before getting behind the wheel after drinking and possibly prevent the destruction of more families."
Members of Christidis's family, however, said Dejong's sentence didn't go far enough, adding that drunk driving was treated too leniently by the courts.
"No sentence handed down today could be fair or just so long as the penalty does not match the crime," said Soula Koutlemanis, Christidis's aunt, who read a statement outside court on the family's behalf.
"(Dejong) will return to his family and continue his life. We, on the other hand, have been sentenced to a life sentence of pain and suffering."
Dejong chose to drink and drive without any considerations for the consequences, Koutlemanis said, wondering aloud if harsher penalties would have resulted in him making a different decision.
"We are living a nightmare, as are other families in similar situations. Something must change," she said. "The first step in our opinion is harsher sentences for those who drink and drive."
DeJong will be able to apply for parole after serving one third of his sentence.