Driver in crash that killed 2 teenage women sentenced to 2 years
Published Wednesday, June 12, 2019 3:54PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, June 13, 2019 5:23PM EDT
A young man will spend the next two years in jail for the role he played in the deaths of two young women.
20-year-old Chris Galletta was sentenced today after the car he was driving crashed, killing two teenagers and injuring another.
But already, his lawyers have announced they plan to appeal.News of that appeal did not go over well with the families of the victims who said they've waited two years for justice, only to have it snatched away.
Tears of pain and anger surface quickly for Michelle Morrison who is still in disbelief her daughter is dead.
“He took my baby's life,” said an emotional Morrison outside the Ottawa courthouse Wednesday after the sentencing, “He left Lila without a mom and I don't think 2 years is long enough by any means.”
Her daughter, Maddie Clement, was 17 years old when she died; a mother herself of Lila, who is now 3 and in the care of her grandmother.
It was Father's Day, 2017 when Chris Galletta, then 18, lost control of his car after an end of school celebration at a quarry in Stittsville. Galletta was injured in the crash but Clement died, along with 18-year-old Michaela Martel. 17-year-old Sommer Foley was badly hurt.
During the trial, court heard about the terrifying moments inside the car as Galletta raced down Fernbank Road, reaching speeds of up to 180 kilometres an hour, with the three girls screaming at him to slow down.
According to testimony, Galletta had been fleeing a confrontation at the quarry. Worried he was being followed, he passed two cars on the narrow two-lane road before losing control and smashing into the trees.
Galletta's lawyers are appealing the charges of criminal negligence causing death, arguing Galletta's moral blameworthiness; that his motivation for speeding wasn't racing but rather to flee that confrontation.
“We are arguing that he is not morally blameworthy at all, “said his lawyer Mark Ertel. “The appeal is based on contradictory evidence that he was in a fight or flight response, that he was not acting as a rational actor and that we can't expect people to behave as rational actors when they're paralyzed by fear.”
The families of the girls say they're left confused and disappointed as they try to pick up the pieces of their lives.
“We're almost two years down the road,” said Bruce Pearson, Maddie Clement’s grandfather, “struggling with making sure Lila, Madison's child, is brought up properly, dealing with loss of a daughter and granddaughter and no end in sight.”
Galletta applied for bail Wednesday afternoon. The Court of Appeal granted that. The appeal itself could take 6 months to a year.