Shara Bakos, the driver who collided head-on with Nelson singer Pat Henman’s car in June 2013, was scheduled to be sentenced in Cranbrook court on December 8. But after seven hours of proceedings, the judge delayed sentencing until December 24.
The accident, which critically injured both Henman and her daughter Maia Vezina, took place when an SUV piloted by Bakos crossed the centre line. The resulting crash nearly killed both of them. Bakos plead guilty to charges of impaired driving causing bodily harm and driving without a license on September 8.
Henman was in attendance for the sentencing, along with her husband Larry Vezina and daughter Zoe. Two witnesses to the crash were also present to show their support. It was the first time Henman had seen Bakos in person, and she was given the opportunity to read both her and her daughter Maia Vezina’s victim impact statements. Maia wanted to attend, but had school responsibilities to attend to.
“It was very surreal, like it wasn’t real. The day was in dream form for me,” Henman told the Star. She said reading her victim statement to the court was emotionally exhausting.
“She (Bakos) was about nine feet away from me when I read the statements. I was thoroughly aware that she was there, because I was always feeling the left side of me and that’s where she was. But I didn’t actually look at her face-on until the end of the day.”
Henman said she’s glad she made the trip.
“There was fear and there was apprehension when I walked in that room. Like ‘oh my god, what am I going to feel when I see her?’ or ‘what happens if we look at each other?’ You just don’t know anything,” she said.
And though the day was draining, it was also cathartic for her.
“It’s like you’re reliving the event, but you have to remember I can’t remember the actual event. I’m remembering everything from the moment I woke up in the hospital and the stories I’ve been told. My victim impact statement was about how I’m living now. It’s about me surviving and how my family is surviving. We’re the new Pat and Maia,” she said.
The prosecution is seeking a maximum sentence of three and a half years jail time, with 10 years of driving prohibition. The defence, meanwhile, is asking for one-year of jail time.
The new sentencing will be held on December 24. Henman plans to be in attendance along with her husband Larry as well as Maia and her other children Zoe and Liam.