A 29-year-old Hamilton driver who pleaded guilty to hitting and killing 11-year-old Jude Strickland on a Hamilton Mountain roadway in 2020 has received jail time and a driving ban from an Ontario judge.
Brandon Aubert is set to serve four years in prison and an eight-year driving ban in connection with the fatal collision on Upper Gage near Royal Vista Drive on Dec. 1, 2020.
Aubert previously pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death for driving 69 km/h in a 50 zone, having blown through a red light and ignoring a crossing guard, according to court documents.
Strickland was hit while crossing Upper Gage on his way home from school.
The statement of facts also revealed Aubert had 4.8 grams of fentanyl in his truck when arrested. He was also charged with possession of a controlled substance.
The Crown, led by attorney Brett Moodie, was asking for at least a four-year sentence and a 10-year drivers’ licence prohibition.
Aubert’s counsel requested a more lenient sentence of two and a half years and a five-year licence prohibition due to his admission of guilt and remorse for his actions.
The decision comes just weeks after father Jamie Strickland, his wife Vanessa and Jude’s grandfather Pete were three of seven who read victim impact statements in a virtual courtroom.
Jamie, a pastor at West Highland Church, told 900 CHML’s Scott Radley Show in mid-March that there are times he feels “anger and hatred for sure,” since the fatal collision, but he is trying to find a way to move beyond those emotions since he believes being “bitter and resentful” will just do lifelong harm.
Strickland’s death sparked a petition calling for the city to lower the speed limit on the section of Upper Gage Avenue between Stone Church Road and Rymal Road East from 50 to 40 km/h.
On Feb. 19, councillors voted in favour of a staff report suggesting the reduction as well as designating a stretch of Upper Gage a community safety zone, lowering that speed limit to 40 to 30 km/h in alignment with a school zone.
In late March, councillors also revealed it will be paying tribute to Jude Strickland via a commemorative plaque and new playground equipment at Eleanor Park on Presidio Drive.
The date for a ribbon-cutting of the Jude Strickland Play Structure will be set for the summer once designs are approved.
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