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“Family in despair” at sentencing hearing for impaired driver who struck and killed woman and her dog

Louise with Zack | Mac family
Louise with Zack | Mac family

The sentencing hearing for a man who was behind the wheel of a vehicle that struck and killed a woman and her dog took place yesterday, on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Those close to Louise Whiten, the victim, gathered in a court in Burlington to deliver victim impact statements.

The driver, 60-year-old Kevin Hyde, was impaired by cannabis at the time of the crash.

The tragic accident took place on Dec. 2, 2020. Whiten was walking her dog along a dirt path near Burgundy Drive and Lakeshore Road when Hyde’s Nissan drifted off the main road and struck Whiten and her dog, killing them both.

Last November, Hyde was convicted of Impaired Driving Causing Death, and Dangerous Driving Causing Death.

Ching Mac, Whiten’s husband, told Justice Anne-Marie Calsavara that the lives of his children and his own have forever been changed.

He recalled Whiten taking their dog out for a walk on the day of the accident, as he worked from home.

His wife hadn’t returned for a while and so he started to worry. Mac tried calling her to no avail.

The “Find my iPhone” app, finally, told him where she was. Mac headed down with his son, Adam.

As he got closer, he saw police cruisers and ambulances.

Mac realized that the app pointed to a spot where the ambulances now were.

He told Adam to go back home, and ran towards the scene of the accident.

“I’m looking for my wife, Louise,” he told a police officer.

“That’s when my world stopped.” - Ching Mac

Two years later, Mac still has “no words […] to describe that moment.”

He sang his wife’s praises, and hailed her as a beautiful, smart, and loving person. Whiten was a speech and language pathologist. She helped those with speech difficulties and impediments, especially autistic children, learn how to communicate.

“Kevin Hyde’s despicable, cruel, thoughtless and selfish action took away my wife, my best friend, my sons’ mother, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a sister, a-sister-in-law, an aunt and a friend to so many” - Ching Mac

Hyde chose to plead not-guilty. That decision deeply angered Mac, who saw it as an appalling “lack of remorse and empathy.”

Earlier on in the proceedings, last year, Hyde claimed that he lost consciousness as a result of a medical condition at the time of the crash.

But, airbag data from Hyde’s Nissan revealed that he turned the steering wheel and the accelerator pedal was pressed and depressed at different intensities when Hyde claimed to be unconscious.

Justice Calsavara believed the airbag data, and Halton Regional Police Service’s Drug Evaluation which confirmed Hyde’s impairment by cannabis.

Every passing month, Whiten’s son Adam - who accompanied Mac in looking for his mother on the day of the crash - is reminded of the holidays, weekends, and birthdays that go by without his mother by his side.

Whiten’s son Jake, Adam’s brother, feels that the family isn't a happy one anymore. Grief permeates their home, and what’s left is despair. “It makes me upset,” he said.

Hyde’s family and friends were also present and shared their accounts of the man they know.

Hyde’s defence lawyer Dean Paquette shared a letter written by Hyde’s daughter, Brianne. She said that her father is pained by that tragic day and very remorseful. Her sentiment was echoed by her brother, Dylan, who added that his father is a loving man who brought joy to his world.

Michael Godinho, the assistant Crown attorney, wants a 7.5 to 9-year prison term for Hyde, and a 10-year driving ban.

Godinho believes this sentence is justified due to the irreversible damage caused by the accident.

Hyde’s lawyer Paquette, however, argued for a four to five-year sentence given Hyde’s lack of criminal record.

In the last 22 years, Hyde has received four speeding infractions - which Paquette claims isn’t significant enough to be considered in this case.

Hyde’s sentence will be delivered on March 28, when he will address the court.