A Pond Inlet woman who was driving drunk when she caused the death of another woman has been sentenced to three years behind bars.
Justice Susan Cooper decided on the punishment for Lila Koonoo, who pleaded guilty, in the Nunavut Court of Justice. Koonoo will also be barred from driving for five years after completing her time in jail.
Koonoo, at the age of 20, was drinking alcohol with friends in her truck during the evening of June 30, 2017. After drinking for almost six hours, including at least one mickey-sized bottle of hard liquor, Koonoo started to pass out while driving her truck down a hill shortly after midnight. Her vehicle hit a parked car near the bottom of the hill, pushing that car into another. Linda Milton, 43, got pinned between those two cars. Despite medical intervention, she died within the hour.
Milton was a mother of three children, a longtime elementary school teacher, and a volleyball coach.
“She was an important and loved person in the lives of many,” Cooper stated during the December sentencing hearing.
Koonoo started drinking around age 12, after her parents split up and she said she felt an obligation to help support her seven younger siblings. She graduated high school and was described by friends, prior to the crime, as “active and happy… very good with children, artistic and a good baker.” She held a few different jobs.
However, since the drunk driving incident, she has become reclusive. She still struggles with alcoholism, Cooper noted.
“Lila’s remorse is deep and real. Regardless of the sentence imposed by this court, it is clear that the real punishment for Lila will be living with what she has done,” Cooper stated. “She feels guilty for still being alive and feels that she has no right to live after what happened. She has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress