A professional truck driver who says he zoned out driving on Saskatchewan’s flat highways before crashing into and killing three high school football players in May 2015 will hear his prison sentence Monday.
The Winnipeg trucker, Normand Lavoie, 41, told police that he didn’t fall asleep at the wheel, but that he was in “la la land, basically — I’m there behind the wheel but I’m not.”
‘With it being Saskatchewan, it’s flat and [you] kind of just go into autopilot.’
– Normand Lavoie, truck driver
A judge will deliver the sentence Monday morning in Court of Queen’s Bench, in Melfort, 280 kilometres north of Regina.
The deaths of three teenage boys — Carter Stevenson, 17, Kristian Skalicky, 15, and Justin Gaja, 14 — rocked their hometown of Carrot River, Sask., and shocked the province at a time when there was much public attention about the dangers of speeding in construction zones.
A flagperson from B.C. who was injured in the construction zone crash is still unable to work and receives weekly counselling.
The defence says the Crown’s request of a six-year prison sentence is much too severe for Lavoie’s “mistake.”
A deadly crash
An agreed statement of facts presented at the sentencing hearing laid out the following facts of the case.
On May 3, 2015, the Winnipeg semi-trailer driver was hauling foam insulation panels on a highway south of Spalding, Sask., when he entered a construction zone driving about 100 km/h.
‘Mr. Lavoie knows precisely how the families feel.’
– Michael Nolin, Defense lawyer
Lavoie later told police that he didn’t recall entering the construction zone or seeing six construction zone signs, including an electronic billboard, advising him that workers were present and to slow down.
He was travelling 84 km/h when he crashed into and crushed a small white car that had been stopped by a flagperson. The three teenage boys inside the car travelling home from a football camp were killed on impact.
Their car hit a truck hauling a trailer, and that truck then hit and seriously…