London, ONT.–The drunk driver who killed 18-year old Western University student Andrea Christidis tearfully said at a sentencing hearing Thursday that he’s “haunted” by the memory of what he did.
A sentencing hearing was held Thursday for Jared DeJong, 25, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to having over 80 mg of alcohol in 100 ML of blood causing death, after a minivan he was driving jumped a curb and struck Christidis, a Scarborough native, who was walking back to her dorm late one evening last October.
In a London courtroom Thursday afternoon, himself appeared, listening to 11 victim impact statements given by friends and family of Christidis, before speaking himslf.
“Our whole world has been turned upside down because someone decided to go for a joy ride,” said Nicole, a friend of Christidis. “This is not a joy ride for us. This is total devastation.”
The Crown is seeking a five year prison sentence and a 10 year driving man, while DeJong’s defense counsel called for two years behind bars and three years of probation.
“My life is just hell,” Georgia Christidis, Andrea’s mother, told reporters outside the courthouse. Georgia said that even though DeJong didn’t set out to kill her daughter, that’s what happened.
Georgia lamented in her statement that she’d never see her daughter fall in love, get married, or have children.
DeJong was tearful and contrite during his remarks, reading a statement expressing his regret about the incident.
“The decision I made that night was selfish, immature and irresponsible,” the statement read. “It’s not fair that I’m here today and Andrea isn’t. Everyday I’m haunted by the memory of what I did; although I know that the remorse and guilt I feel pales in comparison to the amount of pain and grief that I have caused your family, to all of Andrea’s friends, and to all of the lives that she touched, words cannot describe how truly sorry I am for (what) I’ve done. (sic)”
The DeJong family also submitted a statement, read by DeJong’s lawyer, saying that he has taken “full responsibility for his actions.”
“Jared has faced the consequences, head one,” the statement read. “He has taken full responsibility for his actions. He will take the punishment that the courts decide on, which we hope are (sic) fair. We know he will carry this, as we will, to the end of our days.”
DeJong’s sentenced is slated to be delivered Jun. 16.