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2013-01-18 at 17:07

Storey sentenced to two years in prison

By Jodi Lundmark,
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THUNDER BAY -- Brenda Veneruzzo will never find closure for the death of her daughter, Jasmine, who was killed after a collision involving OPP officer Darryl Storey.

Storey was sentenced Friday to two years in prison with a five-year driving ban at the Superior Court of Justice.

He was charged with criminal negligence causing death in the Dec. 3, 2008 motor vehicle collision near the intersection of Highway 11/17 and Twin City Crossroads that claimed the life of 18-year-old Jasmine Veneruzzo.

Storey changed his plea midway through the trial and pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of dangerous driving causing death on Sept. 25, 2012. A Superior-North EMS paramedic testified in September that Storey told him and an ER doctor he was driving the car at top speed – 210 kilometres per hour.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled to last all day Friday, but the Crown and defense put forward a joint submission asking for a sentence of two years in a federal penitentiary, a five-year ban on operating motor vehicles and for Storey to provide a DNA sample for the national databank.

Justice Cas Herold accepted the submission and said he found it to be appropriate.

Because of safety concerns of having a former police officer incarcerated, the judge recommended Storey be classified a minimum security risk and that he serve his sentence in Beaver Creek Institution in Gravenhurst, Ont.

Jasmine’s mother Brenda Veneruzzo spoke with media after the sentence was handed down said that while she’s OK with the trial’s results, she’ll never have closure.

“I will always miss my daughter,” she said with her husband Louie by her side. “We are such a close family. It’s just unbelievable that she’s still gone. It’s a tragedy.”

Jasmine had wanted to become a pediatrician to help save lives one day and Brenda Veneruzzo said she hopes her daughter didn’t die in vain.

She hopes the sentencing will make others think twice about driving dangerously.

“(I hope) that someone will see the sentencing and what’s happened to this gentleman, that they will think twice about speeding to save the next life,” she said.
The court heard victim impact statements from Brenda Veneruzzo and Jasmine’s cousin Amanda Daniels.

Crown Attorney James Palangio read statements from Louie, Jason and Jennifer Veneruzzo – Jasmine’s father, brother and sister.

The statements outlined a devastated family suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder with some members dealing with anxiety and depression. Neither Brenda nor Louie Veneruzzo have been able to work since Jasmine died.

The statements also depicted Jasmine as a young, vibrant woman who loved life and lived it to the fullest.

Storey’s lawyer, Leo Kinahan, said his client was suffering from work-related post-traumatic stress disorder from an incident that happened earlier in 2008. He also read a statement from Storey apologizing to the Veneruzzo family.

If he could take back his actions that day or bring Jasmine back, he would do so in an instant, Storey said in the statement.

“This is a tragedy that has haunted me to this day,” he said, adding that his thoughts pale in comparison to what the Veneruzzo family has gone through.

“I’m truly sorry for the loss and pain you’ve endured.”

Kinahan said the sentence was fair and he and the Crown had been able to reach a middle ground when forming the joint submission.

“The Veneruzzo family has been through a lot, but again Darryl Storey has been through a lot as well,” he said.

Storey, who had achieved the rank of major in the Canadian Forces, has been dishonourably discharged from the military and his career with the OPP is over.

“It’s an appropriate resolution at the end of the day in my opinion,” Kinahan said.

And while no one usually has a good reaction to being incarcerated, Kinahan said Storey’s reaction to the sentence was one of acceptance.

“It’s been a long time for him as well. It puts some closure to this. He pays his dues and he’ll be able to get on with his life at some point,” Kinahan said.

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