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Rae mayor drove woman off the road

Andrew Raven
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 06/04) - The mayor of Rae Edzo was sentenced to four months in jail last week for running a woman off the road and sending her truck hurtling into a ditch.

Eddie Koyina, 62, had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit when he clipped the woman's Jeep from behind, forcing it off the side of an access road near the community last summer.

The woman suffered a broken arm, but was conscious when police arrived at the scene of the crash at around 6 p.m. on Aug. 12.

"Impaired driving is a serious problem," said Chief Judge Michel Bourassa. "It is a pure miracle (the victim) was not more severely injured. There have been people killed on the highway between Rae-Edzo and Yellowknife."

A blood alcohol test nearly an hour later pegged Koyina's blood alcohol at 0.17.

In addition to the four month jail sentence, Bourassa suspended Koyina's license for three years.

In court, Koyina said he had apologized to the woman and the crash was "a stupid thing. I feel sorry about it."

The woman told police Koyina twice pulled in front of her with his Ford F-150, forcing her to slow down and stop. The third time, Koyina hit the rear wheel of her truck and sent it careening off the road. It eventually came to rest upside-down in a ditch.

Koyina's name will appear on the ballot when residents of Rae-Edzo head to the polls for a regularly scheduled municipal election Dec. 13.

The hamlet's senior administrative officer Mike Richards said Koyina requested last Monday to have his name withdrawn from the race, but election rules prevented officials from taking his name off the ballot.

"You can only withdraw within 24 hours of being nominated," said Richards. "The election has to go ahead anyway."