Man gets 10 months in jail for road rage attack against elderly driver
‘I thought that I might die,’ victim said of assault court called ‘completely unprovoked’
A 27-year-old Queens County man was sentenced to 10 months in jail and three years probation in provincial court Tuesday following a road rage incident that occurred in Charlottetown on Jan. 21, 2020.
Judge Nancy Orr said Kenneth Stewart Longden "poses a significant threat to the public" following an incident described to the court as a "completely unprovoked attack" against a vulnerable victim.
The 79-year-old driver of a vehicle involved in a collision with Longden on the Charlottetown bypass was sent by ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and suffered severe bruising and emotional trauma following the attack, some of which was captured on cellphone video by a bystander.
The 23-second video shows a man standing beside the open driver-side door of a vehicle which appears to have been involved in an accident.
The man standing can be seen striking the seated driver of the vehicle multiple times with his arm, then lifting up his leg and kicking the driver. The man then slams the door on the legs of the driver. CBC has muted the audio on the video, and is warning that some might find the video disturbing:
The court was told the video only captured part of the assault.
Longden pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm. A charge of leaving the scene of an accident was stayed by the Crown.
When asked if he had anything to say before sentencing, Longden replied: "just that I'm very sorry."
Defence lawyer Thane MacEachern said his client accepted full responsibility for his actions, acknowledged it was a serious offence and was prepared to accept the penalty.
Victim: 'I thought that I might die'
Orr said the only thing that saved the victim from further injury was the fact he was wearing his seatbelt and thus could not be pulled from the vehicle.
Crown attorney Nathan Beck read part of the victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing.
"During the assault I was terrified, and generally feared for my life," Beck said, citing the words of the victim. "I thought that I might die."
The court was told that at the time the victim was in the midst of radiation therapy to treat cancer, and that after the assault he became depressed and required counselling.
He also sold his 18-month-old vehicle involved in the accident because it reminded him of the attack.
History of anger management problems
The court heard that Longden has two prior convictions for common assault, a history of substance abuse and problems dealing with anger that began when he was a child.
The court was also told that as a child, Longden was subjected to repeated physical and mental abuse.
He was recently referred by Child and Family Services for anger management counselling but only attended one out of five scheduled face-to-face sessions, leading the Crown to characterize Longden's efforts to address his issues as "inconsistent."
According to Longden, he had no memory of the incident. He only remembered seeing a fox while driving and then getting rear-ended. He said he started to remember parts of the incident after being shown the video.
The victim said before the collision occurred he was trying to read Longden's licence plate to report him for erratic driving.
Orr noted Longden's driver's licence was suspended at the time of the accident.
Orr said Longden will continue to pose a significant threat to the public until he makes a "significant and concentrated effort" to control his issues with addiction and anger management.
Following his jail sentence, as a condition of his probation Longden was ordered to undergo any counselling or treatment for alcohol or drug use, mental health and anger management as advised by his probation officer.
He's also not allowed to drive for the full three years of his probationary period.