Edmonton drunk driver who seriously injured motorcyclist jailed five months

by Tony Blais

An Edmonton musician who was driving drunk when he collided with a soldier riding a motorcycle was sentenced to five months in jail Wednesday.

Musician Kirk Haakensen, 45, was also handed a three year driving ban after pleading guilty in provincial court to impaired driving causing bodily harm.

Judge Greg Lepp said the injuries suffered by Cpl. Alexis Deschambault were a "terrible blow."

Lepp accepted that Haakensen was remorseful and likely will never drink and drive again, but said public deterrence is paramount, as many people die every year in Canada as a result of impaired driving.

Crown prosecutor J.P. Quenneville told court Haakensen was driving a 1999 GMC Sierra east on Dunluce Road and he turned north on 116 Street in front of the west bound Deschambault, who was riding a 2008 Honda CBR600 sportbike, causing the April 30, 2014, collision.

Quenneville said the motorcycle hit the right rear quarter panel of the pickup and Deschambault ended up on the pavement with the motorcycle on top of him.

Deschambault was unconscious while being taken to hospital and suffered a broken shinbone, a broken calfbone, a broken collarbone and a bruised lower back.

In a victim impact statement, the Edmonton Garrison soldier said the collision happened three months after he had returned from tours in Afghanistan and Kuwait.

He said he spent seven weeks in a wheelchair, six weeks on crutches and has had several surgeries. He has also been in physiotherapy for 18 months.

Court heard Haakensen, who had a blood alcohol level of .12, was not hurt.

However, defence lawyer Eliza Maynes told court Haakensen can identify with Deschambault's injuries, as he recently nearly severed a finger while working as a hardwood floor installer.

Maynes said Haakensen has been unable to work and can no longer play guitar, which she noted is his passion, as he has been playing in local bands for many years.

She told court he was in a band in the 1990s called Sleave, which backed up some notable groups including Nickelback and won some regional awards.

Haakensen, who took alcohol abuse treatment at Henwood Treatment Centre after a previous impaired conviction, said he thinks about the collision every day.

"I feel horrible about the whole experience," he said.

Court heard Haakensen is also being sued by Deschambault.