Cambridge man gets six year sentence for death of former Laurier dean of students
KITCHENER -- A Cambridge man has been sentenced for his role in the death of the former dean of students at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Leanne Holland Brown was walking on the sidewalk near MacGregor Public School in Waterloo on April 24, 2019, when a vehicle jumped the curb and struck her.
Ronald Rees, 57, had pleaded guilty in March to impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death in the crash.
He was sentenced Wednesday to a concurrent six year sentence, of which he will serve four years and seven months after credit for time served.
Rees will be prohibited from operating a motor vehicle anywhere in Canada for 10 years following his imprisonment.
Court had heard that his ability was impaired by high amounts of THC, and that it was a "substantial contributor" to the incident.
During the sentencing hearing, which happened via telephone on Thursday, five victim impact statements were read out.
"Our kind and caring daughter’s life has been tragically and senselessly extinguished," the statement from John and Val Holland, the woman's parents, read in part.
Her brother, Brian Holland, says he is having treatments and taking medication to deal with the "emotional and physical symptoms brought on by this tragedy."
"The worst part of her absence is not being able to feel any more of her hugs or hear anymore of her positive messages," his victim impact statement says in part.
Rees read a couple of letters during the hearing on Thursday morning.
"I took a lot from that family. I not only took a lot, I took a wife. A mother. She will never been there for her kids again," he said, apologizing and saying that he hoped that the family would forgive him.
Rees' lawyer, Bernard Cummins, said Rees has been "profoundly remorseful since the beginning," but that the sentencing was about what he had expected.
"My client was fully prepared for the consequences of his actions and the sentence is entirely consistent with what I was expecting," he told CTV.
But the president of the local chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada disagrees.
"When it was first read out, I thought it was awfully low. For the impact that this person had on the crash, just an extremely low number of years," MADD Waterloo Region President Steve Bowden said.
Wilfrid Laurier University's Vice-president of Student Affairs Davic McMurray submitted a community impact statement on behalf of the university.
He said that her death "has had a most-devastating impact on the university."
McMurray says there are two places that have been established on campus where people can come to "reflect on Leanne."
The school created a bench of friendship and an outdoor garden in her memory.