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Victim traumatized by impaired joyrider
Offender three times the legal limit when she crashed stolen truck into vehicle driven by pregnant woman

John McFadden
Northern News Services
Friday, May 8, 2015

A 31-year-old woman is to be sentenced this morning for a joyride in a stolen vehicle last November that ended downtown when she ran into a jeep driven by a pregnant woman with her six-year-old child in the vehicle.

Felicia Pierrot, who pleaded guilty to theft of a vehicle and drunk driving, is to be sentenced by Judge Christine Gagnon in territorial court.

Crown prosecutor Alex Godfrey told the court at a sentencing hearing on Wednesday that Pierrot, a mother of two, had nearly three times the legal limit of alcohol in her system when she was given a breathalyzer test following the crash.

She now has four drunk driving convictions on her record.

Godfrey said back on Nov. 18 of last year, Pierrot got into a dispute in front of a downtown restaurant with a man who wouldn't give her a cigarette. When the man went into the restaurant, Pierrot stole his pick-up truck where the keys had been left in the ignition. The man chased after the truck but lost it when it turned on to Franklin Avenue. He then called RCMP to report it stolen, Godfrey said.

Two Mounties on patrol in their vehicle located the vehicle driving toward downtown from Old Town near the Day's Inn. They activated their emergency lights and attempted to pull it over, Godfrey said. The vehicle then collided with a jeep while attempting to make a left turn off Franklin in front of the post office. Pierrot then swerved, hit a parked truck, jumped the curb, and struck a sign before coming to rest in front of Centre Square Mall, according to Godfrey. There were two other people in the truck with Pierrot when it crashed.

The woman in the jeep, Amal Ibrahim, was about five months pregnant at the time. She and her daughter were taken to Stanton Territorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Ibrahim said she was told by health-care workers that she might go into early labour because of the crash. She didn't and delivered a boy about seven weeks ago. Ibrahim was in court for the sentencing hearing.

"I was worried all along that I might lose the baby," said Ibrahim. "He has had some health issues but there in no way to connect those with the crash."

Ibrahim said she had to pay about $4,800 out of her own pocket to get her jeep repaired.

"My insurance company won't recover the repairs because it was struck by a stolen vehicle," she said. "I have dealt with the owner of the stolen truck's insurance company but they have also not paid."

Celeste Power, spokesperson for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said that the truck driver's insurance company is not liable even though the truck was stolen with the keys in the ignition.

"The only way insurance would pay to fix her vehicle is if she had comprehensive insurance," Power said. "Otherwise she would have to sue the woman convicted of stealing the vehicle.

A decision on a restitution order forcing Pierrot to pay Ibrahim for the jeep damages could be made in court today. Court also heard Pierrot was initially admitted to wellness court on the theft and drunk driving charges but was forced from the program after she was charged with breaching her court conditions.

Godfrey told the court Pierrot was found intoxicated and asleep on a sofa in the lobby of the Yellowknife Inn on April 17. She was under an order not to consume alcohol at the time, part of her bail conditions on the theft and drunk driving charges.

Godfrey called for Pierrot to be sentenced to 10 to 13 months on all charges.

Her legal aid lawyer Tony Amoud has requested a 12-month curative discharge. The sentence would essentially allow for alcoholism treatment instead of jail time. Pierrot has spent a total of 108 days in pre-trial custody.

Godfrey told the judge he opposes the curative discharge, citing past court punishments have not prevented Pierrot from re-offending.

Pierrot appeared in court wearing a burgundy T-shirt and black running pants, her black hair dyed red. She was allowed to leave the prisoner's box to sit with her lawyer. She tearfully read from a written note when the judge asked her if she had anything to say at the end of the hearing.

"I know I am an alcoholic. I am trying to quit. I'm trying to get treatment," she said trembling. "I apologize to the lady who was pregnant. I am very remorseful about what happened and take full responsibility for it. I am sorry."

She did not look at Ibrahim while apologizing to her. Ibrahim said outside court she wasn't sure what the sentence should be.

"She should get jail time in order to keep what happened to me from happening to anyone else," Ibrahim said.

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