Man pleads guilty to drunk driving in 401 crash that killed London mother and daughter

A 53-year-old Cambridge man has accepted responsibility for a crash on the 401 that killed a London mother and her daughter in August of last year.

Hubert Domonchuk, 53, pleaded guilty to seven charges Wednesday in relation to the deadly crash

Sarah Payne, 42, and her daughter, Freya Payne, 5, were killed in a crash on Hwy. 401 near Dutton on Aug 29, 2017. (Harris Funeral Home)

A Cambridge man has accepted responsibility for a crash on the 401 that killed a London mother and her daughter.

On Aug 29, 2017, Sarah Payne and her 5-year-old daughter, Freya, were killed when a pickup truck crossed a median near Dutton and struck their minivan. Payne's six-year-old son, William, was also in the vehicle and suffered serious injuries.

Hubert Domonchuck, 53, pleaded guilty Wednesday in a St. Thomas courtroom to seven charges in relation to the collision, including two counts of impaired driving causing death.

A pickup truck crossed a median on Hwy. 401 near Dutton and struck a minivan on Aug 29, 2017. (Submitted by OPP)

"I had some relief because we were not entirely sure what he would plead," said Alysson Storey, a friend of the Payne family.

"There's no good news associated with this tragedy, but it was better news that he decided to plead guilty to those seven charges."

Storey, who is running for mayor of Chatham-Kent, started a petition after the deadly crash. It called for the installation of barriers between the east- and west-bound traffic lanes on the 401 near Dutton.

The province has moved ahead with the installation of high-tension cable barriers.

Sarah and Freya remembered

Sarah Payne was an occupational therapist at Parkwood Hospital who was remembered at a memorial service as a kind and generous person. She was well-known in the community, and had ties to Prince Edward Island and Rondeau Park. 

Payne's husband, Michael, is a doctor at Parkwood and has been left alone to care for William.

"He's a very resilient little boy and he's got an amazing amount of support and love around him, as does his dad," said Storey.

"They've lost half of their family in the blink of an eye, so they've been through hell and back. But they're surrounded by a lot of people who really care about them, so I'm hopeful they'll survive this."

The Payne family will return to court in December to deliver victim impact statements.