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Driver receives 45 days in prison for striking B.C. cyclist

The life of a man struck by a drunk driver has been forever changed, according to his family. The 57-year-old British Columbia man, who was previously employed as a bus driver, suffered a catastrophic brain injury following the car accident that happened on the night of July 30, 2014. Since then, he has been unable to return to work and his family has had to help him adjust. The driver was sentenced to 45 days in prison. 

According to the accident report, the driver, a 29-year-old respirational therapist, was out celebrating with co-workers the night of the accident. In the sentencing statement, the judge reported the man consumed five pints of beer and a shot of liquor before getting behind the wheel. Impairment and exhaustion led him to not see the cyclist on the side of the road despite the bicycle having the requisite lights and reflectors. The driver left the scene, leaving the cyclist in a coma. 

Several weeks later, the man turned himself in to police without legal representation and admitted to the crime. Due to his clean record and remorse, he was sentenced to only 45 days in prison for his crime. The family of the cyclist does not believe this is a sufficient punishment for the crime. 

Thankfully, British Columbia law gives them more legal recourse. Considering the extent of the man's brain injury, they may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver for the damages he suffered. Such a suit is handled in civil court and can make use of evidence from the criminal proceedings; in this case, as the man pleaded guilty, this may be a good move should the family choose to move forward with a civil suit. 

Source: tricitynews.com, "Drunk driver gets 45 days in jail for Port Coquitlam cycling accident", Janis Cleugh, Jan. 6, 2017

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