New trial for Whitehorse man convicted of drunk driving

Michael Schmidt, who was jailed for impaired driving causing bodily harm in connection with a 2009 rollover on the Alaska Highway, will get a new trial.

Driver insists he was not impaired when vehicle rolled

A Whitehorse man jailed for impaired driving causing bodily harm will get a new trial.

Yukon Appeal Court judges say there's no clear evidence Michael Schmidt was impaired when he crashed his car in 2009 on the Alaska Highway west of Whitehorse.

Schmidt, who's now 32, admitted he had been drinking that day, but insisted he was not impaired.

He was speeding on icy roads through the frost heave section at Takhini River when the car rolled. Spinal injuries left passenger Jessica Frotten paralyzed from the waist down.

At trial, Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale determined Schmidt was not over the legal limit for impairment, but ruled he was impaired enough that it caused the accident. He acquitted Schmidt on charges of dangerous driving and driving with a blood-alcohol content over the legal limit but convicted him of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

In court this week, Appeal Court judges questioned that reasoning. They said just because he was speeding on icy roads, it does not prove he was impaired.

On Friday they told prosecutors they failed to follow the judge's "path to conviction."

Schmidt, who has served two months of an eight-month jail sentence, has been released pending a new trial.