A Strathroy woman was sentenced to five years and banned from driving for 10 for driving drunk and crashing into the vehicle carrying eight-year-old Nihal Toor, who died in hospital.

The crash happened at the corner of Hickory Drive and Egremont Drive northeast of Strathroy on the evening of July 17, 2020 after a family trip for Nihal, and an afternoon drinking for Alicia Van Bree.

Van Bree pleaded guilty last August to impaired driving death and impaired driving causing bodily harm to Nihal’s seriously-injured grandmother, who came for the trip with Nihal’s mom and sisters. The mother was driving, the sisters were in another vehicle of family members they were following back to London. The Toors were visiting from the United States.

Evidence used included a camera at the nearby gas station, and the blood-alcohol content of Van Bree after the court ruled it was admissible. The camera showed Van Bree signalling to turn onto Hickory before crashing into the car with Nihal in the back seat. Van Bree’s blood alcohol was up to over double the legal limit at the time of the crash.

Court in November heard the heartbreaking impact statements from mom, dad, and Nihal’s big sisters. Her father Sukhwinder Singh was quoted as forgiving Van Bree.

“I am sure that Nihal would have wanted that,” he said.

“I hope that this case will help advance the fight against drunk driving, a critical social malaise,” he added.

Van Bree did not have a previous criminal record. Her defence lawyer lawyer said she has taken counselling for alcohol abuse and started to speak publicly about the dangers of drinking and driving.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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