Edmonton Journal August 12, 2015
A convicted drunk driver who doesn’t believe his drinking contributed to the death of a woman he struck in a marked crosswalk should serve four years in prison, a prosecutor argued Wednesday.
Sivakumar Devarajah, 56, was convicted of impaired driving causing death in April. Since then, he told a psychiatrist in a pre-sentence evaluation he didn’t think his blood-alcohol level, nearly twice the legal limit, led to him striking 77-year-old Agnes Morgan in a west-end crosswalk
“It is mind-boggling that someone would still think they are impervious to the effects of alcohol,” Crown prosecutor Kim Goddard told court at Devarajah’s sentencing hearing.
“This accused made the startling choice to pick up his keys and drive. He was a weapon, there’s no other way to put it.”
In February 2013, Devarajah left a Super Bowl party and hit Morgan with his truck while making a left turn at the intersection of 156th Street and 110th Avenue. He claimed he didn’t see her, though other drivers did.
“She had the perfect right to walk,” witness Thomas Pollard testified earlier this year. “She did everything right.”
Afterward, Pollard smelled alcohol on Devarajah’s breath. “It smelled like he had been drinking. He came up and his eyes were all red and he was talking right in my face.”
Tearfully, Cijay Morgan told court of her last moments at her mother’s hospital bed. “I begged her to open her eyes and talk to me. I begged her not to leave.”
Morgan spoke of her mother’s endless volunteer work with her church and local organizations. A “selfless, loving, kind and thoughtful person,” Agnes Morgan died with a to-do list in her pocket that included a reminder to bring bread to feed to local birds, her daughter said.
“People used to say, ‘If you don’t like Agnes, it’s your fault.’ ”
Devarajah, who has a previous conviction for impaired driving, apologized to the court: “I’m very, very sorry for the family’s loss.”
As Devarajah spoke, Cijay Morgan plugged her ears in the front row of the court gallery because she didn’t want to hear an apology from the man who “slaughtered” her mother.
“I don’t have hate for this man because it requires energy and I do not have that,” she said. “I want him to remember every day what he did to hurt so many people.”
Devarajah’s lawyer, William Tatarchuk, argued his client should serve three years.
Devarajah is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 28.