UPDATE: Sater should get 8-9 years for hit-and-run deaths, says Crown
The drunk driver convicted of killing two people in a hit-and-run collision three years ago in Coquitlam apologized for his actions and said he is still haunted by the crash.
At his sentencing hearing Monday, Cory Sater told New Westminster Supreme Court Justice James Williams that "sorry" does not describe how he feels about taking the lives of Lorraine Cruz and Charlene Reaveley, a Port Coquitlam mother of four.
"It's torture," Sater said in an emotional statement at the end of the hearing. "Every day, I think about it… I torture myself every day.
"The worst part of it is the children. The four kids left behind without a momma."
Sater also apologized to his family, some of whom were in the gallery crying while he addressed the court.
The 40-year-old Port Coquitlam resident was severely impaired when he struck and killed the two women and injured a third victim, Paulo Calimbahin, who lost his leg in the crash.
In January, he was convicted on six charges: two counts each of impaired driving and dangerous driving causing death and one count each of dangerous driving and impaired driving causing bodily harm. Earlier in the trial, he pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident.
On Monday, Crown counsel Chris McPherson argued that a sentence of between eight and nine years was appropriate, given the nature of the crimes committed. He noted that Sater has had previous 24-hour driving prohibitions and that he was not licensed to operate a vehicle the night of the crash.
"It's egregious behaviour and requires a serious sentence," McPherson said. "He sees the bodies strike and ricochet off the Jeep… he obviously saw the blood stains and damage and just drove away."
The court also heard victim impact statements from some of the family and friends of Cruz and Reaveley.
Cruz's mother, Marlie Bennett, told the court that she has also had trouble sleeping since the crash, saying all she can see is her daughter whenever she closes her eyes.
"I feel that I have died," she said in her victim impact statement.
Mary Ogilvie, Reaveley's mother, said she has been on anti-depressants since the crash and has been unable to work.
"I had to bury my only child and live the rest of my life without my daughter," she told the court. "I'm a mother but I have no child. Everything near and dear to me was taken that night."
Dan Reaveley, Charlene's husband, had his statement read into the record by his sister, Lisa. He said that he still has nightmares about the night his wife died and has only recently been able to go back to work. Looking after his four children without the help of his wife has also been difficult, he noted, saying that he even contemplated taking his own life.
Kim deBenedictis, a friend of the Reaveley family who was with Charlene and Dan and witnessed the crash, said she suffered from survivor's guilt and flashbacks.
"This will never heal," she said. "There will always be a hole in my heart."
That night the Reaveleys and Kim and Giacomo deBenedictis stopped to assist Cruz and Calimbahin, who had been involved in a minor car accident on the side of Lougheed Highway and PItt River Road. While Reaveley was comforting Cruz on the side of the road, both women were struck and killed.
Sater had left the Lougheed Village Pub with a friend and the pair was heading back to Sater's home to get money so they could go to another bar. Serving staff at the pub as well as video surveillance confirmed that Sater had consumed six double-rye and Cokes and two Jägerbombs before leaving the bar.
Sater lawyer Rishi Gill took issue with the sentence the Crown was calling for. He said a more appropriate prison term was in the neighbourhood of three and a half years.
The judge will render his decision Thursday morning.