by Tony Blais
An Edmonton man who killed a woman and injured three other people when he T boned a taxi while driving high on crystal methhamphetamine and fleeing police was handed an 8 year prison term Friday.
James Miller-Laney, 30, was also banned from driving for seven years following his release. He earlier pleaded guilty to flight from police causing death, three counts of flight from police causing bodily harm, two counts of hit and run and impaired driving.
Provincial court Judge Elizabeth Johnson said the circumstances of the deadly May 22, 2015 collision at the intersection of 100 Avenue and 170 Street were "very serious" and led to "devastating results."
Johnson ruled it was an aggravating factor that Miller-Laney had such a "high degree of impairment" at the time and was going at a high speed and had run two red lights. But she accepted as a mitigating factor in sentencing that he had pleaded guilty, was "truly remorseful" and he has taken steps to deal with his methamphetamine addiction.
Miller-Laney was given approximately two years credit for time spent in pre trial custody and at a substance abuse treatment facility, leaving him roughly six years still to serve.
After the sentencing, Laura Sager - who was the best friend of deceased victim Vivian Rank and was also injured in the collision - said that, based on what Miller-Laney has done since, she believes Rank would "want to be one of the first people to forgive him for what he did."
According to an agreed statement of facts, Miller-Laney was addicted to crystal meth at the time and had been hired by Corrine Burnett to drive her around that night in his recently acquired 1992 BMW sedan.
After his arrest, Miller-Laney told police he had been awake for about four days and had been using meth, neglecting to eat and playing video games all night. He said he had started getting sleepy while driving his friend around and she supplied him with some meth that he smoked in a pipe after pulling over.
Miller-Laney attracted police attention after driving erratically and an officer activated his emergency lights and attempted to pull him over near 100 Avenue and 178 Street, but he sped off "dramatically."
The officer deactivated his emergency lights shortly after, radioed that he was not pursuing the BMW, but continued to follow the car.
The officer said Miller-Laney went through one red light at about 120 km/h, then collided with the taxi after speeding through a second red light at the intersection of 100 Avenue and 170 Street.
Miller-Laney fled on foot, but was arrested a short time later hiding under a tree. Blood taken from him in hospital revealed he had a "toxic" amount of methamphetamine in his system.
Mohamed Siddiqi was driving the taxi. Rank was in the back seat and Sager in the front passenger seat. Rank, 51, died from her injuries while Siddiqi and Sager suffered back, shoulder and neck injuries. Burnett suffered a broken shoulder and facial lacerations.
At a sentencing hearing last week, Miller-Laney tearfully asked for forgiveness for his "one moment of selfish thinking" and said he "prays to God every day" to trade places with Rank.
"My senseless decisions destroyed more than two families," he said.