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Driver gets eight months in jail, two-year driving ban

Pemberton’s Mark Sullivan was handed an eight-month prison term and two year driving prohibition on Wednesday after pleading guilty to two counts of Dangerous Driving Causing Bodily Harm.

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A charge of impaired driving was stayed by the Crown.

On July 3, 2004, Sullivan was driving south to Whistler on Highway 99 in his pickup truck at excessive speeds and was passing another vehicle over a double yellow line when he spotted a police cruiser up ahead. He swerved back into his lane, striking a Nissan Pathfinder from behind and driving it through the concrete barrier on the side of the highway.

Witnesses estimated Sullivan was driving at approximately 150 km/h.

The two occupants of the Pathfinder sustained various injuries as the truck rolled down the embankment. The passenger, Paul Fournier, had his seatbelt undone at the time to take off his mountain bike shoes, and was likely thrown clear of the vehicle through the passenger window.

The highway was closed for several hours.

The sentencing was supposed to take place in March, but was delayed by Sullivan who disputed some of the facts presented by the prosecution, including the speed at which he was driving and the circumstances leading up to the accident.

Fournier had mixed feelings on the judge’s ruling – he acknowledged that jail time is rare in most motor vehicle incidents but said he hopes it’s used more often to encourage safer driving.

"If anything I would encourage people to write the motor vehicle branch and say this kind of offence should have longer penalties, like 10 years in jail and maybe a lifetime driving ban," he said.

"He got eight months, less than that with probation, and I have the rest of my life. My body is trashed, and I may never have a normal work life again."

In addition to cuts, bruises, and a badly infected gash on his calf, Fournier suffered a dislocated shoulder and various muscle problems that he is continuing to treat.

The driver of the Pathfinder suffered extensive bruising from his seatbelt and steering wheel, as well as other muscle and tissue damage.

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