Driver sentenced in crash that killed mother and daughter on Highway 401
The man involved in a collision on Highway 401 that killed 42-year-old Sarah Payne and her five-year-old daughter Freya has been sentenced to eight years behind bars.
On Aug. 29, 2017, the London mother was driving westbound with her daughter and six-year-old son southwest of London when an eastbound pickup truck crossed to the wrong side of the highway and hit Payne's minivan.
The mother and daughter died in the collision, and a St. Thomas court heard Monday that her son William will suffer from life-long physical effects because of the crash.
Hubert Domonchuk, a 53-year-old from Cambridge, pleaded guilty to seven charges in connection with the crash, including two of impaired driving causing death.
Domonchuk had been drinking before leaving his construction job in Windsor to head home to Cambridge.
Given an opportunity to address the court before sentencing, Domonchuk stood and turned to family and friends of the victims and read from a prepared statement.
He apologized and said, “My apology will never be able to make things better.”
Friends and family of the victims also delivered emotional victim impact statements at the sentencing hearing Monday.
Sarah's father David Miles said, "The one overriding emotion is grief. It gets into your bones and consumes you."
Sarah was heading to a cottage at Rondeau Provincial Park near Chatham with her kids the day of the crash.
Andrew Payne, her brother-in-law, spoke of her husband Michael's grief, calling the deaths "senseless, random and unnecessary."
The Crown and defence lawyers had jointly agreed to recommend an eight-year sentence to be served in a penitentiary.
Both acknowledged Domonchuk’s plea early in the proceedings should be considered, but also cited the devastation caused by the collision in the length of the sentence.
The crash sparked a campaign to build concrete barriers along the 401 from Tilbury to London, also known as 'Carnage Alley.'
The grassroots group Build the Barrier was started by Payne's best friend, Alysson Storey, who lives in Chatham-Kent.