Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Pal sentenced to 18 months in off-roading death of friend
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 19 Apr 2006, p. 3, 1

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A Georgetown man received an 18-month conditional sentence Tuesday for his role in the off-roading tragedy last August that claimed the life of his friend Adam Holton. Nickolas McLaughlin did not receive any jail time, but instead will serve the 18 months in the community-- six months of which he will be under house arrest, able to leave his home only to go to work and for appointments with his court-appointed supervisor or for treatment programs. McLaughlin was driving his dad's truck and "doing donuts" with three friends in a field on Eighth Line early Monday, August 22 when the truck rolled over crushing and killing 19year-old Holton of Georgetown. McLaughlin was also handed a fiveyear driving prohibition and 150 hours of community service work. McLaughlin, 19 at the time of the accident, fought back tears throughout the short trial before Justice J.D. Takach in Burlington Provincial Court. He was sentenced after pleading guilty to lesser charges of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm in connection with the incident. Charges of criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm were withdrawn at the request of assistant Crown attorney Andrew Goodman. Following the sentencing, Holton's father Gord MacDonald said they were "happy with the sentence," and Holton's brother and sister-in-law Michael and Connie Holton said they were "satisfied" with the sentence. In the statement of facts read at the trial by Goodman he said prior to the early morning accident, McLaughlin and his friends-- Amanda De'Ath, Jordyn Steffan, and Holton-- had all been drinking. McLaughlin and De'Ath, Holton's girlfriend, were in the cab of the truck, and Holton and Steffan were riding in the pickup's box. At approximately 2:40 a.m., Goodman said, McLaughlin made a sharp turn, and the truck started to roll. He said Holton threw Steffan clear of the truck in the opposite direction it was rolling, but the vehicle landed on him, pinning him to the ground. He died shortly afterward,

Goodman said. Steffan suffered a broken arm. After the accident McLaughlin's blood alcohol level reading was 94 and 82 mg of alcohol in 100 ml of blood Goodman said. Impaired driving charges laid against McLaughlin following the accident were not pursued by the Crown Tuesday. Victim impact statements from De'Ath and Holton's family, many who wept quietly throughout the trial, were read in court by Goodman. "Words are inadequate to describe the emotional loss I feel over Adam's passing," said Holton's father MacDonald in his statement. "When a father outlives his son the natural order of life is broken." MacDonald also said he knows his son would have wanted them to show compassion to McLaughlin. Holton's girlfriend De'Ath agreed in her statement. "He would want Nick to carry on and live his life," she said. "I miss Adam every waking moment of my life," said Holton's mother Danielle Holton. McLaughlin's attorney Paul Stunt read excerpts from several letters of support from community members for his client. "Nickolas is beyond himself with remorse," said Steve MacDonald, a Halton Regional Police officer. Sheila and Bill Boyd said, "Nick is not a troubled youth or a troublemaker." They called the accident an "isolated incident." "If he could turn back the pages he would," said Mike and Dorri Bland. Stunt said that McLaughlin chose not to speak at the trial because he was too emotional. "This is an extremely serious matter," said Justice Takach, who added he accepted the joint sentence agreed upon by both the Crown and McLaughlin's attorney. "It's not necessarily a sentence I would have arrived at on my own," said Takach, stressing that if the accused had been an older adult or the circumstances were slightly different, there would be jail time. "Reading the letters made me think of my (21-year-old) daughter," said Takach. "I understand a parents love for his or her son or daughter." "I see far too many of these," said Takach, who added that could be an argument for imposing a more severe penalty. But he said, "this is not the case to do it."

Tallyn, Lisa
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19 Apr 2006
Personal Name(s):
Holton, Adam ; McLaughlin, Nickolas ; MacDonald, Gord ; Takach, JD ; Goodman, Andrew ; Holton, Connie ; Holton, Michael ; De'ath, Amanda ; Steffan, Jordyn ; Holton, Danielle ; Stunt, Paul ; MacDonald, Steve ; Boyd, Bill ; Boyd, Sheila ; Bland, Mike ; Bland, Dorri
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Pal sentenced to 18 months in off-roading death of friend