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CanadaImpaired driver who killed Newmarket mother-of-three sentenced to 5 1/2 years

19:16  11 september  2019
19:16  11 september  2019 Source:   thestar.com

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A Newmarket woman has been sentenced to 5 1 / 2 years in prison for impaired driving causing the death of a mother - of - three in October. Shanshan Xia was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs following a guilty plea to killing Jenny Dixon, a

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Impaired driver who killed Newmarket mother-of-three sentenced to 5 1/2 years © Jeremy Grimaldi Hill House Hospice staff stand outside the Newmarket courthouse following the sentencing of Shanshan Xia, the woman who killed Jenny Dixon while driving impaired on Hwy. 404 in Whitchurch-Stouffville. Impaired driver who killed Newmarket mother-of-three sentenced to 5 1/2 years © Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited Jenny Dixon was a mother-of-three and employee of Hill House Hospice in Richmond Hill.

A Newmarket woman has been sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison for impaired driving causing the death of a mother-of-three in October.

Shanshan Xia was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs following a guilty plea to killing Jenny Dixon, an employee of Hill House Hospice in Richmond Hill.

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Dixon would have turned 42 years old Wednesday.

While going home at 2:30 a.m. after a late-night shift on Oct. 26, 2018, Dixon’s vehicle was struck from behind by Xia’s white Mercedes Benz, which was speeding along at 171 km/h.

Rather than braking, the vehicle rammed into the rear of Dixon’s Nissan Rogue on Hwy. 404 in Stouffville. Dixon was ejected through the vehicle’s sunroof and ended up in the ditch.

She died by herself, a stark contrast to how she spent years helping people spend their final moments.

A breathalyzer showed Xia, 37, from Newmarket, had 158 mg of alcohol per 100 mL of blood, almost double the legal limit, in her system.

On Monday, a Newmarket court heard what led to the tragedy.

Xia went out for dinner Oct. 25 with her sister, with whom she co-owned a Newmarket nail salon, before receiving an invitation to attend a karaoke bar with a new group of friends.

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After the bar, the mother-of-two — who was newly single after discovering the father of one of the children was in another relationship in China — dropped a friend off before driving home.

The court heard from several of Dixon’s closest relatives and colleagues, who read victim impact statements. Her mother, Nancy Dixon, explained how Jenny’s grandmother lost a brother to a drunk driver at age four and then lost her granddaughter at 94.

“Jenn was a young mother like you,” she told Xia. “Her kids were 9, 12 and 19 when you took her from them. Imagine that happening to your children.”

Dixon’s daughter Jackie wrote about how her mother’s passing had negatively impacted her outlook on life.

“I used to think about the future and it was bright and happy,” she wrote. “Now, all I see is darkness, and it scares me.”

Dixon’s husband, Bill McCorkill spoke about how Xia’s daughter went to the same elementary school as Dixon’s daughter. She benefitted from her mother’s attendance at her graduation ceremony, while Dixon’s daughter has been left motherless.

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Anne-Marie Deane, executive director of Hill House, retold how she spent one day cleaning up Dixon’s personal effects on the side of the highway.

Xia made a deep and tearful bow to the Dixon family, howling a regretful apology as she wept after Justice Peter Bourque sentenced her.

In a tearful statement to the court, Xia spoke about the damage she caused her own family, resulting in her children being cared for by others while she spends her days in jail.

She further explained the shame she felt.

“I will live condemned by my conscience for the rest of my life,” she said, sobbing. “Words cannot describe how deeply sorry I am for my actions. I am the devil that destroyed two happy families.”

She went on to say how she wants to do something for society and the Dixon family to compensate for her actions, including speaking to the public about how impaired driving ruins lives.

Her lawyer, Seth Weinstein, said his client has been intent on taking responsibility from the beginning.

Crown Peter Westgate said he believes the sentence struck the appropriate balance, but told the court he expects it to act as a warning to others.

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“We hope it will send a message that this carnage will finish,” he said.

Bourque noted that in the past six months, there have been four people convicted of impaired driving causing death in Newmarket court, including Xia, Tyler Nielsen, who killed Stuart Ellis, Christopher Singh, who killed Inoka Ahturaliya-Liyana Waduge and Savani Guruge, and Seyed Tolouie, who killed Julia Baciu.

All four drivers were sentenced to five years or more.

Bourque said the residents of York Region should be “appalled” at the region’s record of having 1,000 new cases of impaired driving each year for the past seven years.

Prior to the Marco Muzzo sentence of 10 years in 2016, the average sentence time for this type of crime was between 18 months and three years.

Xia, who has since lost her stake in the nail salon, will also lose her driver’s licence for 10 years after her release.

Following the sentencing, Nancy Dixon said Xia’s “obvious remorse” did have an effect on her and suggested it could influence her view on whether to oppose an early release from prison.

Jeremy Grimaldi is a crime and justice reporter for YorkRegion.com and its sister papers. Reach him via email: jgrimaldi@yrmg.com

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