Drunk driver left man to die 'like road kill'

Widow speaks at the sentencing hearing of a Saskatchewan man who struck a 62-year-old teacher with his car and left him to die on the side of the road.

A Saskatchewan driver who struck a 62-year-old teacher and left him to die on the side of the road showed "unbelievable disregard for human life" and deserves a prison sentence, the Crown says.

Arguments were heard Friday at the sentencing hearing of Dustin Yuzicapi, convicted of impaired driving, obstruction of justice and leaving the scene of the March 21, 2008, accident that killed a father of five.

Bill Cheers was jogging near Fort Qu'Appelle, about 75 kilometres northeast of Regina, when he was struck by the car Yuzicapi was driving.

Yuzicapi had been out drinking that day and was on a beer run with friends when he hit Cheers. Yuzicapi got out of his car and looked at Cheers but didn't call for help, court heard. Three hours later, family members found Cheers dead in a ditch.

"You left my husband to die, like road kill," Cheers' widow, Kate Hersberger, said at the sentencing hearing as she looked at Yuzicapi.

In a letter read by defence lawyer Brad Tilling, Yuzicapi apologized to the family.

"From the bottom of my heart, I'm sorry for the hurt I've caused," he wrote in the letter. "I would trade places to take the pain away. I'm sorry."

Crown prosecutor Adam Breker said Yuzicapi showed "tremendous recklessness, unbelievable disregard for human life."

Breker asked the judge to give Yuzicapi a penitentiary sentence, suggesting five years would be appropriate.

"He not only hampered the investigation that should have been underway but he contributed directly to the fact that this man had no chance for survival and was left," Breker said.

Tilling said Yuzicapi's remorse was sincere.

"He has felt this way from day one," he said. "It's too bad he didn't feel that way that night.

Tilling asked for a sentence of no longer than two years, which would be served at a provincial jail.

Justice Guy Chicoine will sentence Yuzicapi on April 6.