KILLER REPEAT DRUNK DRIVER SARAH GRAHAM SENTENCED TO 18 MONTHS IN JAIL
JUDGE FITZPATRICK STATES “SARAH GRAHAM’S ACTIONS WERE RECKLESS” IN DEATH OF 39-YEAR-OLD LAUREEN WAITE.
Appearing in Superior Courtroom 205 this morning before His Honour Justice Bruce Fitzpatrick is 45-year-old SARAH GRAHAM. She’s bespectacled wearing a black and white coat with black pants. She appears to have gained a noticeable amount of weight since her last appearance. Her lawyer David Dubinsky is here and Crown Attorney Andrew Sadler is present. Victim Services Representative Shannon is here as well doing an amazing job as always, guiding the family through this difficult process. The family members of Laureen Waite are here.
Graham plead guilty in January 2018 to Dangerous Driving Causing Death and Blood Alcohol Over Legal Limit Causing Death. It took her almost 2 years to admit that she did this. She’s breached her bail conditions previously by drinking and contacting victim’s family. (See story below). Sarah Graham has a criminal record for drinking and driving from 2013 as well as breaching her bail conditions.
There is a joint submission on sentencing for 18 months in jail with 2 years probation and a 3-year driving prohibition.
Sarah Graham was arrested on March 12, 2016, in connection to a collision that happened on July 18, 2015. Thunder Bay OPP, Superior North EMS and Shuniah Fire Department all responded to the crash just before 6 p.m. The collision involved an ATV and another vehicle on Haugen Road in Shuniah.
Sarah Graham was driving a southbound ATV that crashed with the northbound Hyundai Elantra, which caused the ATV to roll over onto its side.
Both the driver Sarah Graham and passenger Laureen Waite were ejected and were transported to the hospital by ambulance. Graham sustained non-life threatening injuries while Waite sustained critical injuries.
Laureen Waite, 39, from Terrace Bay, who was the passenger on the ATV, died from her injuries on Oct. 8, 2015. Laureen was a mother of two girls.
OPP stated that after an extensive and lengthy investigation, they found grounds to charge Graham with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and exceeding 80 milligrams of blood alcohol content while operating a motor vehicle, which caused an accident with a fatality, both contrary to the Criminal Code.
GRAHAM was released on bail after the arrest. She breached some bail conditions by contacting victim’s family and telling them things like Laureen hated them and they were just money grabbers. GRAHAM committed an assault while on bail for which she pleaded guilty and received probation. She remained free on bail.
In Courtroom 102 on December 22, 2016, Sarah Graham appeared before Judge Pelletier for disposition. She was wearing an all green outfit with zippered black boots. She appears to be gaining weight. She’s pleaded guilty to an assault and 2 failure to comply with bail charges. She is represented by local lawyer David Dubinsky. Admitted facts before the court are that on June 23, 2016 at 1:48 pm, the OPP were contacted by Children’s Aid Society because of an allegation that Sarah Graham was drinking alcohol at a Haugen Road address in Shuniah with her child present when she was under bail conditions not to drink. Further investigation revealed that Graham had assaulted an individual by punching him repeatedly while he slept. Also, between September 17 & September 19, 2016, she repeatedly contacted her victim’s family by text message when she was under a no-contact order. The messages started positively and wound up negative and unwanted by the victim. She has a previous conviction for driving with more than .08 alcohol from June 12, 2013. Her lawyer admits that she is struggling with alcohol and has been getting treatment from Dilico. She’s also getting treatment for mental health issues. Judge Pelletier gives her a 12-month probation where she is under several conditions including a 10 pm to 6 am curfew. She’s also been given a DNA order and has a 2-year firearm prohibition. Graham started crying as she was being sentenced on that day. Judge Pelletier tells the Crown Attorney to get her some tissues.
APRIL 4,2018 SENTENCING
At today’s sentencing, hearing for causing the death of Laureen Waite, the sister of Laureen is accompanied by her mother to the witness stand to deliver a victim impact statement. The statement is lengthy and extremely moving (it caused this writer to shed tears). Laureen’s mother holds a picture of Laureen and her children while Laureen’s sister reads the very emotional statement.
Laureen was a loving and devoted mother who volunteered her time with the church and food bank. She helped to care for her elderly mother and was very active in the life of her immediate family. A picture of Laureen in the hospital with her head all bandaged up is shown to the Judge by Laureen’s sister. This picture is has a heavy emotional impact on this writer. It should serve as a reminder to all that impaired driving is not acceptable and needs to be denounced.
Out of respect for Laureen Waite’s family, I’m choosing not to report on all the details of the Victim Impact statement. I will say this, it’s affected Laureen’s children the most. It’s heartbreaking to hear for this writer how the loss of their mother has affected them. Graham has shown little to no emotion throughout the reading.
Judge Fitzpatrick asks Graham if she has anything to say. Graham stands, starts crying now and states “ I wish I could take back that day if I could.” She turns to the family of Laureen Waite and says “I can’t imagine how you’re feeling. I live with the pain every day. I pray every night for Laureen and those girls. It was a bad day with bad choices by all of us. I hope you forgive me someday”.
The court hears that Graham has 3 children, 17, 15 & 3 1/2-year-olds. She was employed previously by H&R Block doing taxes. She had to quit her job at a Chinese restaurant last weekend because she knew she was going to jail.
Judge Fitzpatrick is ready to pass sentence. He states the court appreciates the Victim Impact Statement by the family. He also states “Sarah Graham’s actions were reckless”. The court receives a copy of Graham’s record which has a previous DUI from 2013. Fitzpatrick also states that this behaviour needs to be denounced and that incarceration sends a denunciation and deterrent message to the public.
SARAH GRAHAM IS SENTENCED TO 18 MONTHS IN JAIL WITH 2 YEARS PROBATION AND 3 YEAR DRIVING PROHIBITION.
GRAHAM IS ORDERED TO PAY 200$ Victim Fine Surcharge. She’s given 2 years to pay that. She’s also ordered to submit her DNA and there is a no-contact order issued for Graham not to contact the victim’s family or children.
Thunder Bay Police Special Constables Fran and Chantal arrive to handcuff Graham. Graham is really crying profusely now knowing that she’s going to be incarcerated. Graham will most likely be released from jail in 12 months on statutory release. The victim’s family receives a life sentence for the loss of their loved one.
RIP LAUREEN WAITE.
From The Desk of Thunder Bay Courthouse – Inside Edition