EDMONTON — The mother of a toddler who died when a vehicle crashed into a restaurant patio says losing her son has robbed her of all feelings of safety and joy.
Sage Morin delivered an emotional victim impact statement Tuesday at the sentencing hearing for Richard Suter, 65, who has pleaded guilty to refusing to provide a breath sample when there is death, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Suter had originally faced charges including impaired driving causing death and Morin had previously testified he appeared intoxicated, but he has continued to maintain he was not drunk at the time.
On Tuesday, Morin remembered two-year-old Geo Mounsef as a polite, helpful little boy who liked being a big brother and playing hide and seek.
She said their dinner at the upscale Ric's Grill in south Edmonton in May 2013 was supposed to have been a celebration of Geo's success at potty training.
Four other family members were also injured when Suter's SUV crashed through a glass partition at the restaurant.
"I didn't lose my son that day, I lost my ability to do things that come naturally to me," Morin told the packed courtroom. "I hate myself for not being able to protect him. To lose a child is to lose everything that's right in the world."
Suter is scheduled to address court on Wednesday. Last January, he told police he had been abducted from his home by three people who posed as police officers.
He said he was blindfolded, driven to a rural area and his thumb was cut off. A man was later charged in the case.
His lawyer said it was the second attack on the family in 18 months.