It was a nasty rollover claimed the life of an 18-year-old girl in Regina more than a year ago, and the sentence for the man behind the wheel has been laid out.
After previously pleading guilty to impaired driving causing death after he rolled his black Mercedes SUV on Saskatchewan Drive near Lewvan on April 22, 2014, 22-year-old Brandon Marcotte was sentenced on Tuesday afternoon to two years, eight months in jail.
Marcotte’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. Court heard the pair had been drinking earlier in the night, having spent time at two different bars. At roughly 1:15 a.m. Marcotte was heading west on Saskatchewan Drive at a high rate of speed around the curve to Lewvan, heading north, when he lost control. The vehicle started sliding sideways before becoming airborne. The SUV rolled several times before landing upside down at a concrete pillar. Neither of the two were wearing their seatbelts.
While the exact speed of the vehicle was never determined, police calculated he was driving at least 107 km/h based on what’s called critical speed, or the point at which a vehicle will lose control as it rounds a curve. It’s based on such indicators as the road’s angle and tire-pavement friction.
It was an emotional day for friends and family of the victim, Presli Dufour. Tissues were passed around the courtroom while ongoing sniffles were heard from those in attendance. Presli’s father, Jay, had a large computer screen-sized picture of his daughter at his feet, while his body trembled in anguish and his eyes welled up with tears.
“I feel like a prisoner in unbearable grief,” he said during a victim impact statement.
He looked at Marcotte while he explained how each day is a struggle to cope with Presli’s death, even avoiding driving down Saskatchewan Drive because it’s too painful a reminder his daughter is no longer with him. He outlined how Christmas is now a time of sickening misery and dread.
Her mother, Pam, also used the holidays as a grim gauge of what is now her reality, describing how she’ll have to face an empty chair at Christmas dinner for the rest of her life, the seat where Presli would have sat.
During her victim-impact statement, Pam outlined how once her daughter died, it was like entering a fog. She said it feels as if her insides are ripped out, and now life is like walking around like a living zombie. Pam even admitted that some days she’s prayed for death, clarifying it’s not because she’s suicidal, but instead it comes down to just not caring if she dies.
“I don’t hate you,” she insisted as she looked at Marcotte who sat at the front of court.
Family members seemed to be convinced he did not intentionally set out to hurt Presli.
Marcotte sat at the front of court wiping away the tears from his eyes. He made a brief statement outlining how he is truly sorry and accepts responsibility, realizing that nothing can make his choice of drinking and driving right. He said he’ll remember the incident for the rest of his life and will live in a way that reflects that.
A joint submission of 32 months in jail, which was accepted by the judge.
“There’s always a choice, and you made a tremendously bad choice,” the judge told Marcotte.
Outside of court, Presli’s friends remembered the joy she brought to their lives.
“She was the most outgoing, confident, sassy friend I ever met,” explained Montana Adams. “We went through good times together and we went through bad, so these days just bring back a lot of those hard memories from the day it happened.”
Erin Sthamann got to know Presli well towards the end of high school and said that’s when they became close. Sthamann, Adams and Presli all went to Cuba together recently.
“She was just like so much fun, such a nice person and honestly we just miss her so much. It’s just so hard to be around her family knowing they’re hurting so much,” added friend Erin Sthamann.
An aspiring nurse, Presli was described as humble, thankful, and respectful.
Along with the jail sentence Marcotte will also be banned from driving for three years.