Keith Dunford gets 2-year jail sentence in death of flag person Ashley Richards

Keith Dunford, the motorist found guilty of hitting and killing a flag person at a construction zone on a Saskatchewan highway in 2012, is going to jail.

Sentencing was Friday at courthouse in Weyburn

On Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, Keith Dunford was sentenced to two years less a day for dangerous driving causing death. (CBC)

Keith Dunford, the motorist found guilty of hitting and killing a flag person at a construction zone on a Saskatchewan highway in 2012, is going to jail.

On Friday, Weyburn Queen's Bench Justice Lana Krogan  sentenced Dunford to two years less a day.

He will also be banned from driving for three years after he gets out of jail.

Dunford was found guilty of dangerous driving causing the death of Ashley Richards. He was found not guilty of the more serious charge of criminal negligence causing her death. 

The fatal crash, near Midale in the southeast corner of the province, led the Saskatchewan government to toughen up enforcement of rules in construction zones.

At the trial in August, Dunford, 47, had pleaded not guilty to both charges. 

The charges stem from the Aug. 24, 2012 death of Richards, 18, who had been working as a flag person.

Richards was on her first day working on the highway, and just a couple of hours into her shift, when she was struck and killed. She had recently moved to the province from Lakeside, N.B., with her fiancé. 

Ashley Dawn Richards was struck by a vehicle and killed while working as a flag person on a highway near Midale, Sask., in 2012. (CBC)

Dunford, a professional truck driver from the U.K., told police he was looking at his recent immigration papers when the crash happened.

Krogan noted that the truck driver was driving 90 to 100 km/h before he hit Richards.

Krogan also said that while Dunford showed remorse, and there was no alcohol involved, a probationary sentence would not deter others from committing similar offences.

The judge noted Dunford ignored construction signs for 13 kilometres.

Crown prosecutor Mitchell Miller spoke to reporters outside the Weyburn courthouse on Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, following the sentencing of Keith Dunford. (Tory Gillis/CBC)

Victim impact statements were given by Richards' father, mother, sister and partner.

"They have experienced shock and grief and unimaginable pain," Krogan said.

Outside court, Crown prosecutor Mitchell Miller called it a "tragic" and "sad" case for everyone involved.

"This was all completely avoidable," Miller said. "The message from this case is, when you're in those orange zones, when you're in the construction zones, pay attention — that's your duty."

Defence lawyer Aaron Fox said Dunford will be appealing both the sentence and the conviction.


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