Nfld. & Labrador

Sobs fill courtroom as mother's loss recounted

Emotions run high as a judge hears a mother's description of devastation after her son was run down and killed by an erratic driver.

Emotions ran high in a courtroom in southwestern Newfoundland amidst a mother's description of devastation after her son was run down and killed by an erratic driver.

Chris Farrell was killed in January 2011 when he was struck by a car while walking home from work. ((Courtesy of Robert Fraser))

Chris Farrell, 22, was struck and killed by a vehicle on High Street in Port aux Basques on Jan. 5, 2011.

The Crown wants the driver, Morgan Taylor, to be given a 30-month prison sentence in the case. He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death during a court appearance in February.

At court in Port aux Basques on Wednesday, the victim impact statement of Donna Elms, Chris Farrell's mother, was read aloud. Elms was too emotional to read the statement herself.

A friend read the statement instead, and even he sobbed as he read the account of how Elms lost her only child, and best friend.

She wrote that every sound in the night awakens her now, and that she briefly thinks it may be her son coming home.

The court was told how Elms tucked her grown son's baby quilt into his coffin, and of how she had been saving that quilt to cradle the grandchildren she will never have.

Taylor was driving almost 100 km/h when he went off the road and up onto sidewalk in Port aux Basques in the moments before the fatal collision.

Farrell was hit with so much force that his body was sent flying in the air, bouncing off the vehicle's roof and into a large, mobile restaurant sign.

While a psychiatric assessment concluded Taylor was in a manic stage of bipolar disorder, he was not sick enough to escape legal punishment.

Elms was accompanied to court by family and friends, including a group called Mothers Against Wreckless Driving.

"I'm here for Donna, my friend," said organizer Velda Tapp, whose daughter went to school with Farrell. Tapp also lost a son to a reckless driver 22 years ago.

Tapp called for longer prison sentences for dangerous drivers.

"A human life is worth, what, 18 months in jail? Most of them are thrown out of court," she said. "It's time provincial and federal laws are changed."

Taylor's sentencing hearing was expected to continue Thursday.