Deinsberg St-Hilaire arrives at the Ottawa courthouse in this file photo.
Jean Levac / Postmedia News
It was the cops, not his conscience, that caught up with Deinsberg St-Hilaire.Hilaire, 42, had no intention of turning himself in for the June 28, 2015 hit-and-run that killed Andy Nevin, who was riding a bike along Leitrim Road.In fact, while Nevin’s family — including his two sons — was making funeral plans, St-Hilaire was covering his tracks in a most calculated way. He tarped the truck that was all over the news, had it repaired and took it to the car wash. St-Hilaire also went into hiding and checked in at a motel out by the airport.Ottawa police detectives worked the case around the clock and had St-Hilaire under surveillance before arresting him nine days later. For the family of Nevin, 39, they were long, horrible days.
Kerry Nevin, left, with son Andy Nevin, who was struck in a hit-and run and left to die on the side of Leitrim Road on June 28, 2015.
St-Hilaire was found not guilty of dangerous driving causing death in November by Ontario Superior Court Justice Catherine Aitken, who called it a circumstantial case. The judge cleared him after hearing evidence that St-Hilaire had been driving 80 kilometres an hour in a 50 zone.He got behind the wheel of a F-250 Ford pickup after being awake for 22 hours. It was just before 6 a.m. and St-Hilaire was on his way home from a wedding after-party. Not just any wedding — it was his brother’s, and St-Hilaire was the best man. He testified that he drank one glass of wine that entire night.Though he was cleared of driving causing death and leaving the scene, St-Hilaire pleaded guilty to obstructing the police investigation by covering his tracks.So while the judge acquitted him in the death, she accepted his guilty plea for destroying evidence to cover up the crime and, on Monday, Nevin’s grieving family read tearful victim-impact statements at the sentencing hearing for St-Hilaire. It was the first chance they had to speak in court after three years of what they described as life-altering pain.They called St-Hilaire a “heartless monster” and asked how he sleeps at night.They said they wished he had owned up, rather than covered up.Assistant Crown Attorney Lisa Miles called St-Hilaire’s coverup a shameful act. The prosecutor told the judge that St-Hilaire should have taken responsibility and reminded the court that Nevin’s death and the trial has left his family broken. Miles also noted that St-Hilaire’s regret and remorse was plentiful long after the fact. She said everyone has a certain responsibility and that St-Hilaire had failed in his, choosing instead to hide his involvement. “It’s not who we are as a community,” Miles said.Kerry Nevin, who has fought for justice every step of the way for his dead son, also read a victim-impact statement.“Andy had a big heart, loved his family, especially his two sons,” he told court.“I hope that when your time comes, that you rot in hell,” he concluded.The grieving father’s victim-impact statement was four pages but Aitken only allowed him to read parts of it — he told court parts got “trashed” because it was the truth.And when Aitken — the same trial judge who acquitted St-Hilaire in Nevin’s death — assured the victim’s family that she has “all kinds of sympathy” for them, the victim’s father replied loudly from his seat in the gallery of the Elgin Street courthouse.“I don’t know how you can even face my family,” Kerry Nevin shot back at the judge.All court proceedings — from St-Hilaire’s first appearance to Monday’s — have been tense. There were four police officers on guard at the sentencing hearing Monday.The most moving victim-impact statement came from Andy Nevin’s youngest son, Bryce, who stood composed as he detailed his darkest hour. The day he found out his father was killed he sat out in the driving rain for hours. He told court he had been robbed of a solid father and that he now feels empty.He said no one should have to endure what he will “deal with for the rest of my life.”Nevin’s son told court his family was relieved to finally move out of the projects, and the next day his father had been killed.Bryce used to love playing soccer. His dad was his biggest and loudest fan. Bryce hasn’t kicked a ball around in years because it reminds him that his father isn’t around.“He was my best friend, and you’re the one who took him away from me,” Bryce told court as he glanced over at St-Hilaire before walking out of court.St-Hilaire also stood in court Monday and told his sentencing hearing that he was sorry.He is expected to be sentenced later this year. No date has been email@example.com ALSO IN THE NEWS:VIDEO: Drone shows hibernating turtles all the way down under Ontario lake’s icePolice board to conduct national search for next chief, approves budgetFrozen or not frozen? Province ‘prioritized” autism wait list, says ministry