BY ANDREW SEYMOUR, THE OTTAWA CITIZENDECEMBER 18, 2009
OTTAWA — A 22-year-old woman who struck and injured a cyclist while her licence was suspended for driving drunk has pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified.
Sarah Prout-Barrett admitted she was behind the wheel of a silver Cadillac on Aug. 18 when she hit 43-year-old competitive cyclist Jim Borrens as she attempted to merge onto the Airport Parkway at Hunt Club Road.
According to an agreed statement of facts, witnesses described seeing the Cadillac sideswipe the cyclist, sending him flying off the bike before the car rolled over it.
The car continued about 350 metres down the road before stopping. Prout-Barrett then walked back to where the collision had occurred.
When police arrived, Prout-Barrett told an officer she did not have her driver’s licence with her.
A police check revealed her licence had been suspended the previous February, following an impaired-driving conviction. There was no evidence Prout-Barrett had been drinking prior to the crash.
When the first officer arrived, paramedics were treating the injured cyclist in the ditch about six metres from where his bike lay on the side of the road. The rear wheel of the bike was damaged.
Prout-Barrett was also originally charged with failing to remain at the scene of an accident, but that charge is not proceeding. Following the collision, Borrens told The Citizen that drivers need to pay more attention to the road.
“I’m just happy I didn’t die because it could have gone that way. But I’ve got more cuts and bruises and road rash and stitches than you can imagine,” he said then. “Something like that shouldn’t happen. Keep your eyes on the road. That should be your focus at all times.”
Borrens, who was wearing a helmet, said the force of the collision sent him “flying through the air.” He slid along the road and gravel shoulder before coming to a stop in the ditch.
While he suffered no broken bones, his $6,000 bicycle was destroyed.
The collision occurred only weeks after a July collision in Kanata that seriously injured five cyclists. The driver charged in that collision, Sommit Luangpakham, is scheduled to be tried in September.
A sentencing hearing for Prout-Barrett is scheduled for March 4.