Drunk driver who hit women gets 33-month jail term

Rosie Mullaley rmullaley@thetelegram.com
Published on July 29, 2011
Leo Jerome Power of North Harbour, St. Mary’s Bay— who struck two women on Topsail Road in St. John’s last winter while he was driving drunk — was sentenced to 33 months in jail Thursday in provincial court. — File photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

A St. Mary’s Bay man who was driving drunk when he struck two women with his pickup truck on a busy St. John’s street last winter has been handed a hefty jail term.

In provincial court in St. John’s Thursday, Leo Jerome Power was sentenced to 33 months behind bars.

The 48-year-old, of North Harbour, had pleaded guilty to two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm and a single charge of leaving the scene of an accident.

Power admitted to consuming several drinks at a local bar on the night of Feb. 9, before getting behind the wheel of his pickup truck.

Power struck the women — aged 22 and 24 — on Topsail Road as they were walking along the side of the roadway. The sidewalk was full of snow so the women were walking on the street.

It was the first of several collisions that night.

After he mowed down the women, Power kept going, striking a vehicle at the intersection with Columbus Drive.

Power continued west to the Hamlyn Road intersection, where he rammed into four more cars.

From the point where the women were struck to where Power's pickup slammed into a snow bank was about 600 metres.

Both women suffer lasting effects from their injuries and their lives have been affected considerably.

The 22-year-old suffered severe bruising to much of her body and received staples to close a wound to her head. She spent about five days in hospital.

The 24-year-old is still recovering.

She was dragged for 85 metres under Power’s truck and only became dislodged when he struck the vehicle at the Columbus Drive intersection.

She suffered from a broken pelvis, severe burns, bruising and lacerations. She required numerous skin grafts and surgeries and still struggles to perform daily tasks.

She spent 48 days in hospital in St. John's before she was airlifted to her home province of New Brunswick, where she spent five more days in hospital.

During Power’s sentencing hearing earlier this month, he apologized to his victims saying he was deeply ashamed of what he’d done and would never forgive himself.

“I am sincerely sorry for what I have brought into your lives and I would trade places with you in a heartbeat,” he said in a letter, read in court by his lawyer.

Both women had declined the opportunity to present victim impact statements.

Crown prosecutor Iain Hollett had asked the judge to consider a three- to four-year sentence. Defence lawyer Rosellen Sullivan recommended two to 2 1/2 years in prison.

As part of the sentence, Judge David Power also imposed a 10-year driving prohibition. Leo Power was also ordered to submit a DNA sample and was told to have no contact or communication with the victims while he’s serving his jail term.