Montreal

Hudson jogger hit by drunk driver asks him to team up with her on school visits

Tina Adams, who has undergone 19 operations since she was struck by Jordan Taylor's car while out jogging in 2015, accepted his apology and made Taylor a surprise proposition at his sentencing hearing for impaired driving.

Tina Adams reached out to Jordan Taylor at 26-year-old's sentencing hearing for impaired driving

Tina Adams speaks with reporters after the hearing, saying she forgives the man who severely injured her with his car in June 2015. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Tina Adams, who has undergone 19 operations since she was struck by Jordan Taylor's car while out jogging in 2015, made Taylor a surprise proposition at his sentencing hearing for impaired driving.

Adams accepted an apology from the 26-year-old man, then asked him to join her in giving presentations about their experience to schools.

Adams, who was at the courthouse in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield Wednesday to give her victim impact statement, was so seriously injured in the 2015 incident that she feared she might never walk again.

Taylor pleaded guilty to impaired driving and impaired driving causing bodily harm last June. 

The Crown and defence have jointly recommended to Quebec court Judge Bernard St-Arnaud that Taylor be sentenced to eight months in jail followed by one year of probation.

Devastating injuries

The case dates back to June 2015, when the car Taylor was driving struck Adams, now 24, while she was out jogging with a friend on Cambridge Street in Hudson, 50 kilometres west of Montreal. 

The vehicle then hit a hydro pole and caught fire. Taylor was arrested at the scene.

Adams suffered a cracked skull and traumatic brain injury, a fractured spine, a blood clot in her head, two punctured lungs, fractured ribs and internal bleeding.

Her right hip and the right side of her pelvis were destroyed. She suffered burns from electric wires that fell on her, as well as nerve damage in her legs. Adams has undergone 19 operations.

Although she is still not 100 per cent, Adams is now back on her feet and regularly practising CrossFit. She has returned to school at John Abbott College, but her extensive injuries have dashed her hopes of becoming a police officer.

"My early adulthood was completely taken from me," Adams told the court. "My life will never be what I expected it to be."

Taylor made his own statement to the judge, turning back often to address Adams directly.

He said he has long wanted to apologize to Adams but was barred from communicating with her.

Taylor told the court it was a "big mistake to drive that car that day" and that he had prayed for Adams.

"It will continue to haunt me."

Jordan Taylor, centre, enters the Salaberry-de-Valleyfield courthouse Wednesday. (CBC)

Surprise invitation accepted

As Taylor sat back down with his head in his hands, Adams asked to make another statement.

She told the court she went to schools to talk about her experience and the impact her injuries have had on her life.

Adams then said she wanted Taylor to join her at future presentations.

Adams later told reporters she hadn't discussed the idea with anyone, including the Crown or her father, who was in the courtroom with her.

Taylor told the court he was willing to accept Adams's offer.

"I am hoping that he really did learn from what he did to me," Adams told reporters after the hearing.

She hopes that he will "help raise awareness," she said.

Adams said she accepts Taylor's apology.

Taylor 'made a big mistake': lawyer

Taylor's lawyer, Philip Schneider, told reporters sentences in cases like this often vary between seven and 12 months. He asked the judge to look at similar cases in which those found guilty were sentenced to 90 days, served on weekends.

His client is aware that he "made a big mistake" and did something "very wrong," Scheider said, and he knows that he must face the consequences.

Philip Schneider, Jordan Taylor's lawyer, says his client is aware he 'made a big mistake.' ( Charles Contant/Radio-Canada)

"I don't think that him going to jail or to be incarcerated is necessary for his own personal future in terms of correcting his own conduct or not repeating the offence," he told reporters.

Going to jail, he said, serves as a deterrent to others — letting the public know that driving impaired can lead to incarceration.

Along with the jail time and probation, the joint recommendation includes forbidding Taylor from operating a motor vehicle for 15 months and prohibiting him from contacting Adams unless she wants him to go to schools to make presentations with her.

St-Arnaud, who is not bound by the joint sentencing recommendation, is expected to make known his decision at the end of the month.

With files from CBC's Matt D'Amours

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