Serial drunk driver gets 8½ years

Terry Naugle, who has been called Nova Scotia's worst drunk driver, was sentenced Friday to 8½ years in prison.

Terry Naugle, who has been called Nova Scotia's worst drunk driver, was sentenced Friday to eight and a half years in prison and banned from driving for life.

Dartmouth provincial court Judge Frank Hoskins gave Naugle double credit for time served since his arrest on charges of impaired driving, leaving the scene of an accident and operating a motor vehicle while prohibited.

That means Naugle, 52, from the Truro area, will serve six years and nine months behind bars. This is believed to be the longest sentence for drunk driving in Nova Scotia.

Naugle has 68 previous convictions, 22 for impaired driving, since 1974.

The latest convictions are for an incident on March 28 when Naugle sideswiped an SUV parked near an off-ramp on Highway 102, near Enfield.

No one was hurt in the crash, but David McMillan, wife Julia and daughter Jillian described it as a terrifying close call.

In a victim impact statement read in court last month, Jillian, 13, described how her father parked their SUV on the side of Highway 102 so he could walk ahead to get gas. She was sitting inside the SUV with her mom when Naugle sideswiped it.

In October, Naugle pleaded guilty to the charges.

The Crown argued that Naugle should be sentenced to 10 years in prison, minus the 10 months he has served at the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth.

After a one-day sentencing hearing last month, prosecutor Cheryl Byard described Naugle as the "worst of the worst known offenders when it comes to impaired drivers in Nova Scotia."

The defence had asked for a four-year sentence with double credit for time served, which would effectively cut the sentence to two years and four months.

Hoskins said Naugle had "an atrocious criminal history" and that it was amazing that he hadn't killed himself or someone else.

The court faced a challenge in passing sentence, the judge said, because Naugle is a "habitual offender" and someone with "a total disregard for the law."

Hoskins said alcoholism is a "terrible disease," but Naugle was not being sentenced for alcoholism.

Margaret Miller of Mothers Against Drunk Driving welcomed the lengthy jail sentence because it's unlikely Naugle can change his ways.

"I think at this point in his life, you're not going to see change. So, it's good to see him behind bars for a while."

Stacey Strickland, Naugle's niece, said she agrees that he needed some jail time to protect the public. But she said she was disappointed there was no mention of treatment for her uncle.

"It's a tough day for our family. I'm having a hard time. He is my uncle and I love him dearly," Strickland said. "I know that he's being seen as the most notorious drunk driver in Nova Scotia, but he's still a person."

Jillian McMillan is happy the matter has finally been dealt with.

"I've missed a lot of school because of it and to finally hear the sentence, it was just relieving," she said.