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Man responsible for northern Ont. crash that killed woman days before her wedding fined $5K

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It was a sad scene at Tom Davies Square in Sudbury on Monday morning, where a man was being sentenced for a crash that killed a North Bay woman who was driving to her wedding shower.

Deborah Ann Flynn-Kirkham died Aug. 18, 2022, in a head-on collision on Highway 17 near Markstay. (File)

Deborah Ann Flynn-Kirkham died Aug. 18, 2022, on Highway 17 near Markstay when a Tesla driven by Matthew McAlduff veered into her lane, resulting in a head-on collision.

Flynn’s vehicle ended up in the ditch and she was declared dead at the scene with extensive injuries. McAlduff had broken bones and a brain injury and the other passenger in the Tesla, his father, required surgery.

McAlduff pled guilty Monday to careless driving. In a joint submission, the defence and Crown suggested a penalty of $5,000 plus court costs, and a two-year driving ban.

Before the plea was accepted, however, the victim’s family submitted victim impact statements, including her fiancé, Keith Kirkham.

Her family spoke about what a happy time it was that summer, with the long-awaited wedding of Keith and Deborah just around the corner.

“They talked a lot about the next 30 years they would have together,” Kirkham’s mother said.

Now her son has a “shattered heart” and struggles with mental health.

“Our lives fell apart that evening,” she said.

For his part, Keith Kirkham first asked that the court ensure McAlduff could hear him. McAlduff was participating via Zoom from his home in British Columbia.

He and Deborah were engaged for five years, Kirkham said, but she was taken from him nine days before the wedding.

“She was a stunningly beautiful woman,” Kirkham said.

Keith Kirkham was to marry Deborah Ann Flynn in August 2022, but she was killed in a Highway 17 crash nine days before the wedding. Kirkham wore the suit he bought for the wedding to the sentencing hearing Monday of Matthew McAlduff, the driver responsible for the tragedy. (Darren MacDonald/CTV News)

“She could make anyone laugh and smile. I was in complete awe the very first time we met. … Debbie was my dream girl. She was everything to me. She was my whole life.”

She was upgrading her skills and just completed physiotherapist studies when she was killed.

“We were so excited about our future together,” Kirkham said. “We just enjoyed being together.”

He turned his anger to McAlduff, who, he said, has put him “in a pit of hell” that he can’t escape from.

“He killed Deborah in a blink of an eye,” Kirkham said, calling him “the worst human being in the world.”

'You killed part of me that day'

“You killed part of me that day,” he said.

“You should never again be allowed to drive a motor vehicle … You could kill again.”

He went from wedding planning to planning Deborah’s funeral and eulogy, Kirkham said.

The wedding party wore their wedding clothes to her funeral, Kirkham said.

On Monday in court, he was wearing the suit he was supposed to wear when he married Deborah.

“I had her dressed in her wedding gown,” he said, of the funeral.

“I married a corpse bride.”

But instead of putting on her wedding ring, he took it off and closed the casket.

She was cremated, he said, and “I slept with her urn in my bed.”

He described the hatred he feels for McAlduff and his father, both of whom he blames for the tragedy.

“This is an injury that cannot heal,” Kirkham said.

“I wish I could get you out of my head ... I wish you the worst life possible because of what you have done.”

He begged McAlduff to never drive again, “not just for my sake, but for the safety of others.”

“I love you my darling angel,” Kirkham said to Deborah in his final remark.

'I am deeply, deeply, sorry'

In his address to the court, McAlduff offered his “deepest, most heartfelt condolences.”

“The emotional pain you are suffering, I can’t believe how phenomenal it must be,” he said.

He said he has no memories from the collision, “but I was told it was my fault.”

“I am deeply, deeply sorry,” he said.

“It’s something I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life ... Not a single day goes by that I don’t ask God and Deborah for forgiveness.”

He promised to become “a force for good,” and offered to support Deborah’s family in any way he can.

“One moment of inattention can be so earthshattering,” McAlduff said.

“I don’t remember the day, but this will haunt me forever … You’re not alone in your grief. I cry with you.”

“So very sorry.”

Justice of the Peace Diane Lafleur said the joint submission was “difficult” to accept for the family, but was one agreed to jointly by the Crown and defence.

“Nothing we can say today can bring back Debbie,” Lafleur said.

She praised Kirkham’s courage for speaking the way he did and said she was sorry she couldn’t “take your pain away.”

“You were able to express your feelings and I hope that has helped you in some little way today,” Lafleur said.

As for McAlduff, she said it was good that he showed remorse and acknowledged that the tragedy “has changed your life, as well.”

“Everyone is suffering in their own way … and you will have to find a way to heal, as well,” Lafleur said.

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