Meth-impaired driver handed six-year sentence for hit-and-run that killed Manitoba teenager

By | April 28, 2020

WINNIPEG — A Calgary, Alta. man who was behind the wheel of a stolen truck and high on meth when he hit two teenage boys – killing one and injuring the other –  has been handed a sentence of six years.

Justin Joseph Little, 30, learned his fate Tuesday afternoon in a Winnipeg courtroom.

Ben Harris, 15, and his friend were walking their bicycles near Donald Road and Highway 9 in the Rural Municipality of St. Andrews on the night of Aug. 10, 2018, after visiting friends. Court heard the boys were heading south when they were struck by the driver of a northbound 2009 GMC Canyon that veered off the road.

Harris was killed. His friend was hurt in the collision and survived.

Little pleaded guilty this past November to impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm and two counts of failing to stop at the scene of an accident where a person was injured.

Eleven other charges – including manslaughter and charges for several less serious offences – were stayed.

The Crown was seeking a seven-year sentence for Little, while the defence asked Judge Sidney Lerner to consider a total sentence of four-and-a-half years for his client.

Evan Roitenberg told Lerner at a sentencing hearing in February that punishment — which he calculated could be achieved through time served and a further sentence of two years less a day — would keep Little out of a penitentiary and allow him to continue serving jail time at the Headingley Correctional Centre, where he could stay in the Winding River addictions treatment program.

Court has previously heard RCMP officers arrested Little within an hour of the collision that killed Harris. He was found hiding in a different parked vehicle in a yard near the scene of the crash.

Police noted he appeared high on drugs. Court heard his face was pale and sweaty and his eyes were bloodshot.

Needles were found on Little and, in a statement to police the day after his arrest, he admitted he used them on the day of the collision to shoot meth. 

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