Lake Echo woman sentenced to five years in prison for killing man while driving impaired

Philip Croucher, Metro Halifax
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 Kyla MacLellan arriving at Dartmouth provincial court Sept. 4 prior to her sentencing.        

METRO HALIFAX

A 21-year-old Lake Echo woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for killing a man while being impaired behind the wheel.

The sentence was handed down Sept. 4 by Judge Allana Murphy in a packed provincial courtroom in Dartmouth.

Kyla MacLellan had pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm in April, following a head-on collision that killed 55-year-old Mark Burnett near Lawrencetown beach last year. A passenger in the car with the accused was also injured.

The judge gave MacLellan three years for the injuries to the passenger, a sentence which runs concurrently.

Once released from prison, she is also prohibited from driving for 10 years.

During a sentencing hearing last week, the Crown recommended a five to six year prison sentence for MacLellan, while the defence asked for three to five years given her age and clean criminal record.

The Crown also recommended MacLellan serve an additional three to four years for the injuries sustained by her passenger, Danielle Drake.

In an agreed statement of facts read by the Crown last week, Drake said MacLellan had driven her home around 4:30 a.m after they had been drinking at a bonfire. She said MacLellan had stayed at her apartment for around an hour, then the pair got back into the car and MacLellan continued driving.

The Crown said MacLellan was found to have blood alcohol level of .08 at the time of the crash, and told the court that an off-duty police officer who witnessed the accident determined she was travelling at a speed excessive of 100 km/h.

Burnett was on his way to work when the accident happened on July 10, 2013. He was a member of the Canadian navy and was close to retirement.

At one point in the hearing last week, MacLellan apologized to the Burnett family before the packed courtroom, saying “I take full responsibility,” and “there is nothing I can say that makes anything better,” choking back tears.

“I don’t believe her. I’ve not seen her (show) remorse at all. Those were crocodile tears, I’m sorry,” Burnett’s wife Andrea said outside court afterwards then.

Geographic location: Lake Echo, Dartmouth, Lawrencetown

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