Sudbury man lost it all to drug addiction

'You had a good life as a young person, but all the problems came with drugs'

Article content

A Greater Sudbury man with a horrendous driving record has been given the equivalent of a 15-month jail sentence.

“I am happy where I am now,” Michel Laquerre, 50, told Ontario Court Justice Andre Guay via videolink from the Sudbury Jail Wednesday just before receiving the sentence, which the Crown and defence lawyer Denis Michel suggested.

“It would have been nice to be able to get out sooner than later. I am anxious to get out.”

On Jan. 22, Laquerre pleaded guilty to 15 of the 91 charges he was facing, including numerous counts of driving while prohibited, three counts of dangerous driving, possession of stolen property, breach of probation, numerous counts of breach of recognizance, and breach of undertaking.

The charges dated back to May 26 and ran through to Aug. 10, 2020.

A pre-sentence report with a Gladue component was ordered by Michel. A Gladue component assists a judge with sentencing options for people of First Nation heritage (Laquerre is of Cree descent).

Advertisement

Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Since Laquerre had been in custody for 252 days, he received pre-custody credit of 378 days. That leaves him with 72 days of jail left to serve. He also received a lifetime driving suspension.

On Jan. 22, the court heard that about 11:20 p.m. May 20, 2020, Laquerre was speeding through the city and almost struck another vehicle in the College Street/Frood Road intersection.

The 2011 GMC Sierra pickup truck Laquerre was driving was stolen. At the time, Laquerre was a prohibited driver.

About 11:30 p.m. July 4, Laquerre got into a vehicle that was left running and drove off.

Then on July 25, Laquerre’s surety contacted Greater Sudbury Police to indicate Laquerre had left and not returned. He was under a court condition not to leave the residence.

On Aug. 4, Laquerre was sitting in a vehicle belonging to a city business that officers spotted and they began to approach it. Laquerre noticed the police cruiser, got behind the wheel, accelerated and disappeared. He was later arrested.

One of the conditions of Laquerre’s bail order was that he was not to be driving or in possession of a vehicle.

About 8:30 p.m. Aug. 6, an officer who knew Laquerre saw him driving a Silverado pickup truck and began following it. Laquerre noticed the police cruiser, and then sped off.

In the Melvin Avenue area, the Silverado’s tires lost traction with the pavement at one point. Another officer attempted to stop Laquerre by blocking the southbound lane, but Laquerre drove around it.

Advertisement

Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Laquerre then drove through a four-way-stop intersection where there were people on the sidewalk and the area. Those people yelled at Laquerre for his reckless driving. He then sped away at a speed of 130 km/hour. The speed limit in that area is 50 km/hr.

Laquerre then headed to Lasalle Boulevard, went into oncoming traffic, and through a red light.

On Aug. 10, Laquerre was not in the residence he was supposed to remain in, breaching a condition of his bail.

In his sentencing submission Wednesday, Michel noted that “Mr. Laquerre is finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. He has taken care of the drugs … He is planning on going up north to work.

“The (pre-sentence) report shows you and supports our position that Mr. Laquerre has come to us here trying to better himself and the Michel Laquerre I knew when he was young, had employment, and was a six-figure miner. He has lost his work, his house, his kids, all because of drugs.”

Michel said Laquerre had a life-altering experience in which he was run over by a vehicle. He was also attacked with an axe that led to a nine-day stay in hospital and a realization it was time to give up the drugs.

The lawyer said Laquerre, who is skilled as a pipefitter, mechanic, and heavy equipment diesel worker, intends to return to work in the mining sector.

Michel noted Laquerre has one year remaining on an old probation order.

Justice Guay told Laquerre he was surprised by what he read in the pre-sentence report: a man with so much going for him and a good upbringing having his life turned upside down due to drugs.

Advertisement

Story continues below
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

“When I read this, I thought ‘this isn’t the kind of profile I am used to reading about someone in these circumstances’,” said the judge. “You had a good life as a young person, but all the problems came with drugs.”

As a result of the 15 guilty pleas and sentence issued Wednesday, the Crown withdrew the other charges Laquerre was facing.

Laquerre has been before the courts before for bad driving incidents.

In December 2019, Laquerre pleaded guilty to 11 of the more than 60 charges he was facing, including multiple counts of dangerous driving, breach of recognizance, and driving while prohibited. The charges were connected to several incidents that occurred in April of that year.

Laquerre had also pleaded guilty earlier to a dangerous driving charge laid Jan. 13.

To make matters worse, Laquerre, when he was arrested, was serving a one-year house arrest sentence he received on June 19, 2018.

hcarmichael@postmedia.com

Twitter: @HaroldCarmichae

News Near Cochrane

This Week in Flyers