Jonathan Falardeau-Laroche at the palace of justice of Quebec, on Tuesday
July 14, 2020 10: 30
Updated at 13h17
32 months in prison for the driver, an epileptic who has mowed down a pregnant woman
Carelessness, lies, immaturity: “here, a certain degree of severity is necessary,” said the judge Peter L. Rousseau, in imposing a sentence of 32 months in prison Jonathan Falardeau-Laroche, the young driver with epilepsy that claimed the life of a pregnant woman in front of the CHUL, in August 2016.
Falardeau-Laroche, now 26-year-old, was found guilty at his trial for criminal negligence causing the death of Marie-Pier Gagné, 27 year old, and causing harm to the baby fortunately survived, as well as the passenger of another car.
Nearly four years after the tragedy, the circumstances still give cold in the back. On the morning of August 10, 2016, Jonathan Falardeau-Laroche leaves a consultation with her neurologist, worried about a resurgence of symptoms. Despite the advice of his doctor, he takes the wheel to go home.
A few seconds after leaving the parking lot of the CHUL, the driver has a moment of absence due to a seizure. The young man is an epileptic since childhood, but had had a few quiet years.
The car driven by Jonathan Falardeau-Laroche struck then Marie-Pier Gagné. The young woman, pregnant for almost 40 weeks, was on the terre-plein of Laurier boulevard and was waiting for his turn to cross. She just got out of a follow-up appointment pregnancy.
The small Rio white Falardeau-Laroche continues its road until the next intersection, where she hit a vehicle, injuring seriously the passenger.
Marie-Pier Gagné died shortly after the impact. The doctors and staff at the hospital have managed to give birth and to save the small daughter of the victim, who suffered a double fracture of the skull.
In his decision, judge Peter L. Rousseau of the Quebec Court recalls that, less than a year before the collision in front of the CHUL, Jonathan Falardeau-Laroche had been a serious accident at the entrance of the Pierre-Laporte bridge, again because of a seizure. His work colleagues had tried to raise awareness and his doctor had warned him not to drive.
“The accused Falardeau-Laroche has demonstrated a degree of recklessness and high regard for the life and safety of others, analysis of the judge. The court considers that here a certain severity is required.”
The accused has not expressed at trial or during sentencing arguments. The probation officers who have met him note that he has a tendency to place the blame on his doctor. He acknowledges having a problem of alcohol dependence, but not with the intention to get rid of.
Since the beginning of the proceedings, the young man has experienced a deep depression and has had episodes of suicidal.
The Crown prosecutor, dr Thomas Jacques had demanded a sentence of 36 to 42 months of prison, approaching the maximum imposed, according to the case law, for cases of criminal negligence causing death.
The counsel for the defence Me and Simon Roy and Me Sophie Dubé fought for a sentence of detention of 12 months. The defence recommended that the court consider, as a mitigating factor, the high profile of the case. The judge does not retain this argument. “The scale media to this folder is similar to all cases where there is a death of a human being, considers the judge Rousseau. This is a result of the repercussions of the criminal act committed by the accused.”Banned from driving for five years
After the end of his period of detention, Jonathan Falardeau-Laroche will be subject to a driving prohibition for a period of five years.
It is only thereafter that the SAAQ would consider her case. In 2015, the young man had hidden some information to a doctor in order to get back his driving licence.
Many family members of Marie-Pier Gagné attended the sentencing. A small nucleus was present in the courtroom. The vast majority of which Scott Bittner-Lamy, the spouse of Marie-Pier followed, thanks to the web, this is the ultimate hearing of a matter that has caused a lot of suffering for many people.
At the time the judge Rousseau gave the figure confirming the prison, they saw Jonathan Falardeau-Laroche stand up to the last row and walk up to the box holding. The young man gave his black jacket to his lawyer before leaving with the officers of the correctional services.