Cobble Hill driver who fatally injured woman sentenced to 21 days in jail

A Cobble Hill driver who continued to rack up driving violations after fatally injuring a 68-year-old woman in a Brentwood Bay crosswalk three years ago will spend 21 days in jail.

Owen Patrick Kelly is also prohibited from driving for one year and must pay a $1,500 fine within three months.

In April, Victoria provincial court Judge Sue Wishart convicted Kelly of driving without due care and attention after he struck Virginia Dorothy Little in a crosswalk on West Saanich Road on the morning of May 12, 2011. Wishart found that Kelly was looking across the road at a job site when he hit her.

"Mr. Kelly was approaching the crosswalk and should have been on the lookout for pedestrians," Wishart said in her decision. "While I accept the fact that the crosswalk configuration at the time was not ideal and was distracting, all the more reason for Mr. Kelly to be on the lookout for pedestrians as he approached it."

The court heard that Little was on the way to her insurance company with the death certificate of her husband, Don, who died April 3 after a long illness.

There is no doubt Kelly, who is married with two children and owns a construction company that employs 41 people, is remorseful, Wishart said. Letters provided to the court described him as kind, generous and helpful to family and friends.

But although Kelly has no criminal record, he has a horrendous driving record, Wishart said: 40 Motor Vehicle Act contraventions from 1991 to 2013, including 13 convictions for speeding and five convictions for using an electronic device while driving. "Most shocking are two convictions for speeding and two convictions for using an electronic device while driving, after hitting Mrs. Little in the crosswalk," the judge said.

"These convictions indicate that specific deterrence must be emphasized. Despite the fact that he struck a pedestrian resulting in her death, Mr. Kelly continued to drive over the speed limit and continued to drive in a manner where he was likely to be distracted. … One would have expected Mr. Kelly to drive with the utmost caution, but he didn’t," Wishart said.

Kelly will serve his 21-day sentence on weekends at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre.

Outside court, Little’s daughter, Susan Fox, said she felt good about the jail sentence but thought Kelly should have lost his driver’s licence for more than a year.

"Not that I wanted him to go to jail, but thank you," said Fox, with tears in her eyes. "It feels like a bit of closure. I had to fight for her and then it’s over."

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