Glen Johnson to be sentenced next month
When Glen Chesley Johnson drove drunk and rammed into another car on a busy highway last Christmas, he tried to blame the other driver.
Glen Chesley Johnson (right) reads over a victim impact statement with his lawyer, Scott Hurley, during a break in proceedings at Johnson’s sentencing hearing at provincial court in St. John’s Wednesday. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram
On Wednesday, he stood before a judge, apologizing for the damage he’s done.
“This has been frustrating and traumatizing for me,” Johnson said, with a quiver in his voice, at his sentencing hearing at provincial court in St. John’s.
“I just want to say I’m sorry.”
The 42-year-old had a blood- alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit when smashed his pickup truck into a car on Pitts Memorial Drive.
It happened at around 9 p.m. Boxing Day night, on the divided highway near the Ruth Avenue turnoff in Mount Pearl.
Johnson was driving west in the wrong lane.
A woman and her boyfriend were heading east when they saw headlights coming towards them. The woman, who was driving, swerved to try and avoid him, but Johnson hit the rear end of the vehicle.
When police got there, Johnson told the officer, “It’s not my fault. They hit me.”
Johnson then became combative with the officer and swung his fists at him.
Johnson pleaded guilty to two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm, driving while disqualified and assaulting a police officer.
Third conviction for impaired driving
It’s his third conviction for an impaired driving incident. His first offence happened in 2003, while his latest was in May 2012, which led to his driving prohibition.
Crown prosecutor Lynn Moore stressed the seriousness of Johnson’s offence, pointing to his high level of intoxication, his treacherous driving, his prior record and the effect it’s had on the victims.
Both the woman and the male passenger ended up with back and neck injuries, which required therapy. Moore said that four months after the accident, the woman was still in too much pain to hold her newborn nephew.
They both still feel the effects, she said.
“This moment of recklessness had a devastating impact on two people’s lives,” Moore told the court. “But it’s a pretty terrifying thing to be on Pitts Memorial Drive and see a car coming towards you.
“It’s really a matter of luck that he didn’t kill anyone.”
Moore suggested the judge sentence Johnson to a jail term of between nine and 12 months. She also said Johnson should be banned from driving for eight years.
“Society can’t afford to have Mr. Johnson on the road,” she said.
Defence lawyer Scott Hurley told the judge that Johnson has very little memory of the incident because he blacked out.
At the time, Hurley said, Johnson was having a hard time in life.
His daughter had been diagnosed with diabetes and he
was separating from the child’s mother.
He also had financial stress.
“Life sort of died for him and it led to alcohol abuse,” Hurley said.
Johnson was also dealing with physical ailments.
He was in court on crutches, recovering from ankle surgery.
He said Johnson is seeking help for his alcohol addiction.
Since the incident, he said Johnson has abstained from alcohol and is getting help — having attended Alcohol Anonymous meetings.
Hurley said a sentence of six to eight months in jail was more appropriate under the circumstances.
Judge Lois Skanes will render her decision Oct. 1.