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Sydney man sentenced after car crashes into woman and house

Rose Barron, far left, is owner of the St. Peter’s Road home that was struck by a car on Thursday morning. A woman was pinned to the house in the incident. She was transported to hospital with serious injuries.
Rose Barron, far left, is owner of the St. Peter’s Road home that was struck by a car on Jan. 11, 2018. A woman was pinned to the house in the incident. - Greg McNeil

Family dog was killed in the accident

SYDNEY, N.S. — An angry outburst because his breakfast sandwich wasn’t exactly what he ordered was the cause of a car accident that nearly claimed the life of a Sydney woman earlier this year.

During a provincial court sentencing hearing Thursday, Zachery David MacKenzie, 25, of Hugh Street was ordered to serve five months and three weeks in a provincial jail followed by one year of probation period and a two-year driving ban.

MacKenzie was sentenced after previously pleading guilty to charges of failing to remain at the scene of an accident and dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

In presenting the facts of the case, prosecutor Gerald MacDonald told the court that shortly after 8:15 a.m. on Jan. 11, Angelique Swann, 36, and her five-year-old daughter and their family dog, Link, were waiting for a school bus on St. Peter’s Road. Other mothers and children were also present, standing on the sidewalk awaiting the bus.

Cape Breton Regional Police Service officers are shown in the midst of the investigation after the incident.
Cape Breton Regional Police Service officers are shown in the midst of the investigation after the incident.

A 2007 Chev Cobalt, driven by Ayslynn Kaiser with MacKenzie as a passenger, was coming down St. Peter’s Road. The pair was returning from a coffee shop and MacKenzie was upset because the breakfast sandwich he ordered was not made properly.

MacDonald said MacKenie began to berate Kaiser, who decided she was going to drive her then-boyfriend to his father’s in a bid to calm him down. MacKenzie wanted to be let out of the car immediately.

As they continued to drive, MacDonald said MacKenzie grabbed the steering wheel and pulled it to the right.

“Ms Kaiser still had control of the wheel and when Mr. MacKenzie let go of the wheel, the car veered suddenly to the left. It crossed the centre line, over the curb and onto the sidewalk,” said MacDonald.

The vehicle struck Swann, tossing her into the air. Her body bounced off the vehicle windshield and she was again airborne, striking a house and landing on the ground adjacent to the home where the vehicle came to a stop.

MacKenzie exited the vehicle and fled the scene after telling Kaiser to call police. He turned himself in later that day and admitted what he had done.

Defence lawyer John MacNeil told the court his client is deeply remorseful for what happened, a comment the accused repeated in addressing provincial court Judge Brian Williston prior to the imposing of sentence.

Throughout most of Thursday’s hearing, MacKenzie sat trembling and crying on the accused bench.

Swann suffered a skull fracture and broken ribs along with muscle and tissue damage in her legs. She also suffered four broken vertebrae and other broken bones in her neck.

“I’ve been told by so many people that I’m lucky to be here and lucky to be still walking,” said Swann, in an interview with the Cape Breton Post in January after her release from hospital.

Related:

• Car pins woman to home on St. Peter’s Road Thursday morning

The family pet, Link who was a rescue dog, died after he was struck by the car.

“We named him Link because he was the missing link from our family,” she said. “He was perfect for our family — an older dog and every day we just rejoiced at how perfect he was. He brought so much love to our family and he was loved so much every day,” said Swann.

Swann also said at the time she holds no resentment towards the people in the car that hit her. That feeling is holding as she did not file a victim impact statement with the court.

“I really do wish them well. I really hope that this experience maybe makes them better people at the end of it,” she said.

MacDonald recommended a sentence of six months in jail while MacNeil requested a 90-day sentence to be served on weekends.

news@cbpost.com

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