Christy Natsis granted full parole
Pembroke, Ont., dentist served 13 months of 5-year prison sentence for role in fatal drunk driving collision
A Pembroke, Ont., dentist convicted in 2015 of drunk driving in a horrific collision that killed a father of three has been granted full parole after serving 13 months of a five-year prison sentence.
Christy Natsis, 55, was convicted of impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death after Bryan Casey, 50, died in a head-on collision on Highway 17 near Arnprior, Ont., on March 31, 2011. Natsis lost an appeal in May 2018.
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Natsis has now been released from the Ottawa halfway house where she's been living on day parole since June, and where staff described her behaviour as "exemplary."
In its three-page decision dated Dec. 4, the parole board said correctional staff rated her "accountability, motivation level, and re-integration potential all as high."
According to the report, Natsis has acknowledged she's an alcoholic, sought counselling and attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings while in custody.
"It is the Board's opinion that you will not present an undue risk to society if released," the decision concludes.
Nevertheless, the board imposed several parole conditions: Natsis must not purchase or consume alcohol and must avoid bars; she's barred from driving for four years; and she must avoid any direct or indirect contact with any member of Casey's family.
Natsis, an American citizen, could have been deported after her conviction, but the parole board said the Canada Border Services Agency "will not be evaluating (Natsis) for deportation at this time."
In an emailed statement, LeeEllen Carroll, Casey's widow, wrote: "It is so difficult to believe it's coming to nine years since Bryan was killed.... We will never get over it — only through it. The pain and suffering thrust upon our children is unfathomable."
Carroll said her family will continue to work with groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
She also thanked the truck drivers who stopped on the night of the collision "to bring order to the situation and help Bryan.... May Bryan's legacy live on, and may he finally rest in peace."
Natsis will return to her dental practice in Pembroke, but still faces a disciplinary hearing before the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario for "disgraceful, dishonourable and unprofessional" conduct.
If the college rules against her, Natsis could face a reprimand, a fine or have her licence revoked, possibly permanently.