A 36-YEAR-OLD woman has been found guilty of killing a would-be police officer while driving drunk on her way home from a drunken Christmas dinner.
Around 5 a.m. on December 23, 2018, Audrey Perrotte was returning from a night of fun when she collided with a car going in the opposite direction, on Route 158 in Mirabel.
The other driver, Julien Lachance, 21, died instantly. The young man recently graduated from the Quebec National Police Academy. He dreams of becoming a policeman, like his father.
Ironically, at the time of the tragedy, he was acting as the designated driver because he went to pick up his girlfriend believing that he was too drunk.
On the way, the couple crossed paths with Audrey Perrotte, who deviated from his path at the same time, on a curve.
Moments after the tragedy, the driver repeated to first responders that he had fallen asleep, that he worked more than 50 hours in his week and that he had had little sleep in the previous 24 hours.
No one suspected before that he could be poisoned.
“Not honest or sincere”
But a few weeks later, an investigator on the file learned from a witness that alcohol was flowing freely during the dinner before the tragedy. 3 liter bottles of wine, sparkling wine, Stinger shooters, gin, rum, vodka. Several drinks were sitting on the counter.
“He was drunk, but not finished,” described one of the guests, talking about the accused.
The latter’s blood samples showed he had more than one and a half times the legal alcohol limit in his blood.
Findings that the defendant vigorously disputed during his trial. He actually questioned the preservation of the vial of blood, which had been left on the counter, uncovered, for hours. According to him, the inside may be polluted.
An argument rejected by Judge Éric Côté. Same thing for his version of his alcohol consumption: he admits that he only drank two glasses of wine, a flute of champagne and a shooter, in 10 hours.
A version that “just doesn’t hold water”, concluded the magistrate.
“His explanations are frivolous, without any candor,” he added, describing the accused as “not honest or sincere”.
The violent collision happened on Route 158 in Mirabel around 5:20 am on December 23, 2018. PASCAL GIRARD/AGENCY QMI Archive photo, Agence QMI
He found him guilty of killing Julien Lachance and injuring the latter’s girlfriend, by driving with a level of more than 80 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood.
The verdict was received with emotion, by the accused and his family, and by many relatives of the victim who were present in the court of Saint-Jérôme.
“I hope for the family of the victim that this will bring some relief, it is a sad process that has been going on since 2018 in their case,” commented the Crown prosecutor, Mr.e Sédrik Valiquette, who left the court.
Sédrik Valiquette, Crown prosecutor Photo Martin Alarie
Audrey Perrotte was also charged with two counts of impaired driving, but was acquitted. He is liable to imprisonment.
The parties will return to court at a later date for sentencing.