Driving assessment

St. Albert man convicted of impaired driving causing death is denied parole a second time

Shane Stevenson struck and killed an Edmonton teenager while driving drunk through a lighted crosswalk.

A St. Albert man who was convicted of impaired driving that killed an Edmonton teenager in a lighted crosswalk was denied parole a second time in February.

On Feb. 18, the Parole Board of Canada denied Shane Stevenson, 51, of St. Albert, day and full parole, according to documents in the board’s decision registry.

Stevenson appeared via video from the Grierson facility before the commission after successfully appealing a decision to deny him parole in June 2021.

Stevenson is serving a three and a half year sentence for impaired driving causing death. He pleaded guilty in October 2020.

On April 15, 2018, 16-year-old Chloe Wiwchar was crossing an Edmonton street at a crosswalk with flashing amber lights. Stevenson hit Wiwchar at an estimated speed of 69 km/h to 83 km/h in a 60 km/h zone and fled. Wiwchar died in hospital shortly thereafter.

An off-duty officer was stopped at the crosswalk to allow Wiwchar to cross and noted that Stevenson had made no effort to stop for the victim, according to court documents.

The officer then followed Stevenson and contacted 911, according to court documents.

Stevenson was found parked in a parking stall sitting in the driver’s seat with the vehicle running. The vehicle suffered extensive damage to the front. The police detected a strong odor of alcohol on his breath.

Stevenson allowed officers to take two samples of his breath. The first sample detected 170 mg and the second sample detected 180 mg of alcohol in 100 mL of blood. The legal limit in Canada under the Criminal Code is 80 mg in 100 mL of blood.

The Correctional Service of Canada flagged Stevenson as a low-risk offender and recommended that the parole board grant him day parole and then full parole after six months on day parole in a residential facility. community.

Court documents say that, in the opinion of the two-member parole board committee, Amy Agar and Ricky Head, Stevenson would pose an “undue risk to society” if released on day parole or parole. full parole.

“You disclosed a very frequent pattern of impaired driving, including repeatedly driving while ‘passed out’, where you put society at risk for many years, since you said you had never been sober only for three separate (and mostly short-lived) periods from when you were a young adult until your index offense.

“Therefore, the board places little weight on the low risk of reoffending,” the court documents state.

Stevenson had no previous convictions; however, he had faced charges for impaired driving and failing or refusing to provide a sample. Both charges were laid in 2009 and were dropped in 2011. Stevenson also received a traffic suspension in January 2017.

Court documents say the board asked Stevenson directly how many times he had drunk and driven outside of the three occasions he was arrested.

Stevenson told the council that he often drives while impaired. More times than he would take a cab.

When asked how often over a one-year period, Stevenson said “at least 20 times.” Stevenson also said he fainted at least five to ten times from memory.

“You informed council that you would be driving impaired because you believed that if you drove home in a taxi, your family would find that you had started drinking again – essentially hiding your problematic behavior from those trying to help you,” court documents mentioned.

Court documents say the board identified that struggling with an addiction is not in itself illegal, the issue for Stevenson was that he would be driving while impaired.

“You agreed, noting that you had an attitude in which you believed the rules/laws did not apply to you and did not preclude your continued criminal conduct,” the court documents state.

Court documents indicate that several mitigating factors were considered by the board, including voluntary interventions such as psychological and spiritual resources. A Stevenson release plan includes documented supports, confirmed employment, continued use of the A.A. program, and additional counseling.

“It is important to counseling that you have a very good idea of ​​your addiction issues and the corresponding emotions and behaviors that increase your risk of using alcohol. This is considered positive progress and will help you with your reintegration” , the court documents say.

The board considered positive institutional behavior to be a neutral factor, as good behavior is expected of all federally sentenced offenders.

Protective factors were also noted, including many people who supported Stevenson, prosocial skills, significant education, and work experience.

“Your own submissions show the council that you are motivated to change your life and include a detailed plan you have developed to help you maintain your sobriety in the community,” the court documents state.

“However, the supports and plans you have presented to council are nearly identical to those provided to you since 2015, and have still not deterred your behavior, which escalated into taking the life of the victim,” continues the document.

The document states that despite significant prior plans, endorsements, interventions and accusations, Stevenson continued to hide from supporters until the Index Offense forced him to confront the extent of his problems.

“Furthermore, the commission does not lose sight of the nature and seriousness of your offence. You chose to drive while intoxicated, you hit a young woman and left her to die as you fled… Your actions have traumatized many people. This is considered a highly aggravating factor in your case,” the court document reads.

The documents continued, the extent of Stevenson’s criminal conduct is far greater than captured by the case reports and counsel found he still lacked understanding of the most important part of his behavior criminal.

“Council agrees with [Correctional Service Canada] that your alcoholism is a contributing risk factor; however, it was your attitude toward the law that led you to cause the victim’s death, and this was not identified in your risk assessment or the development of your offense cycle.

“Your ingrained, long-term impaired driving pattern was not recorded in the case information prior to your hearing. You could not verbalize why you were a repeat impaired driver, despite other consequences in your life, other than trying to hide your behavior from those trying to help you,” the court document reads.

The documents note that the two dynamic risk domains, which are substance abuse and personal emotions, are still considered to be in need of moderate improvement, “which has not been reassessed since admission”, the documents state.

The board also found that there would be significant stressors for Stevenson upon his release, including the end of his marriage, a new relationship, co-ownership of a business, civil litigation and business. of family justice, in addition to parole responsibilities, and maintaining all treatment appointments and these were of concern to the board, “particularly when multiple life stressors were identified as contributing factors. contributory to your listed offence, which met the criteria for serious harm,” the document states.

In the papers, the board said the aggravating factors are not outweighed by positive factors, which “led the board to conclude that your risk is likely much higher than the low rating.”

“All factors considered, the board concludes that your risk is undue on day or full parole. Day parole and full parole are denied.