Drunk Driver with License Suspension Receives Jail Time after Causing Death of Cyclist

Written on Behalf of Affleck & Barrison LLP

A 23-year old Toronto woman, who has repeatedly been caught driving while impaired, has been sentenced to seven years in prison following an accident that killed a cyclist in June 2015.

On June 11, 2015, after drinking heavily, Darya Selinevich was driving down Finch Ave. W. at almost twice the speed limit. Yong Kang, a 44-year old man, was cycling along the same stretch of road. Selinevich struck Kang, then continued to race through the residential neighbourhood, swerving around a police car and through a red light, before abandoning her vehicle (still running) in a strip mall parking lot and fleeing on foot.

History of Drunk Driving

Selinevich should not have been driving on that June evening. One month prior to Kang’s death, she had received a one-year license suspension for driving while intoxicated.

Selinevich had been driving south on the DVP and was pulled over for speeding. She informed the officer that she was in a hurry to get downtown Toronto as her friend was “contemplating suicide”. The officer informed dispatch of the alleged emergency, and then administered a breathalyzer after detecting a strong odour of alcohol on Selinevich’s breath. The sample registered double the legal limit of alcohol in her system. Selinevich was so intoxicated during that previous incident that she blacked out at a police station.

In addition to the one year suspension, Selinevich was fined $1,200 with the Judge telling her that “thankfully, no one was hurt by your actions”.

At the time of her arrest, Selinevich’s social media accounts depicted several glorifications of dangerous driving and drinking and driving, with several photos depicting a driver holding a wine bottle, a speedometer showing 202.5km/h with the caption “best fuel economy hahaha”, and a R.I.D.E. poster stating that a bus, cab, police car or ambulance were reliable methods of getting home when intoxicated to which Selinevich had added the caption “option 5, my car”.

In handing down the sentence, Justice Leslie Pringle considered Kang’s death, Selinevich’s failure to stop at the scene, her failure to stop for police, her refusal to provide a breath sample, and the fact that she was driving while disqualified from doing so.

In acknowledgement of time she has already served since the June 2015 crash, Selinevich has 4 ½ years left on her 7 year sentence. Justice Pringle told Selinevich, “you are clearly someone who is intelligent. You are clearly someone who has the potential to learn from the horrendous crimes that have been committed in this case…good luck”.

Tougher Recent Sentences for Drunk Drivers

The sentence marks a return to tougher sentencing for drunk drivers. Detective Constable Arthur Lane, of Toronto Police Traffic Services, stated that he’s “glad to see that the sentences now are starting to move up in duration” particularly as they had been lower in previous years, adding that “society’s looking at these cases in a more serious light, and that’s going to be helpful”.

Last March, Marco Muzzo was sentenced to 10 years in prison following a horrific crash that killed three children and their grandfather north of Toronto. Muzzo had originally faced the potential of life in prison after he pled guilty to four counts of impaired driving causing death, and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

In 2009, Lawrence Bush, an unlicensed drunk driver in Ontario, was sentenced to 12 years in prison following a 2009 crash that killed one of his friends, who died after the car they were travelling in landed upside down in a stream. At the time of the incident, Bush had been out on bail for a previous impaired driving charge.

Ontario has some of the toughest laws against impaired driving in the world, and has recently introduced amendments to expand the scope of those laws. An impaired driving conviction can have a significant impact on someone’s life, including jail time, fines, loss of driving privileges, as well as damage to a person’s career and reputation.

If you have been charged with impaired driving, contact our office online or at 905-404-1947 to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable and experienced Oshawa lawyers handling drunk driving and over 80 defence. We have 24-hour phone service for your convenience. Our office is located within walking distance of the Durham Consolidated Courthouse.