Ramage found guilty

SAM PAZZANO -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:55 PM ET

NEWMARKET -- Two jurors wept as former Maple Leaf captain Rob Ramage was found guilty yesterday of impaired driving causing the death of his friend and retired NHL player, Keith Magnuson.

Ramage hugged and consoled his grief-stricken wife, Dawn, in the emotion-filled courtroom where almost a dozen of his family and friends, including Hall of Famer Andy Bathgate, were present to hear the verdict. All were visibly shaken.

After five hours of deliberations, the jury rendered its verdict and found Ramage guilty of all five charges stemming from a horrific crash on Dec. 15, 2003. Michelle Pacheco, a 39-year-old mother, suffered a fractured heel when her vehicle was struck by Ramage's.

"It has been a tremendous tragedy since the day of the accident," a sorrowful Ramage said after the verdict." My heart and prayers go out to (Magnuson's widow) Cindy, and his children. This has been a tragedy for all involved in both families."

Ramage's convictions will likely result in a prison sentence -- between two and five years -- and the end of a successful career as a financial adviser in St. Louis.

Ramage was convicted of impaired and dangerous driving causing the death of Magnuson, impaired and dangerous driving causing bodily harm to Pacheco, and having a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit.

Magnuson's widow phoned to provide encouragement to Ramage, 48, as the jury deliberated on Tuesday, Ramage's lawyer, Brian Greenspan, said.

"This has taken a huge personal toll on Rob, his wife and (their) three kids," Greenspan said. "This conviction will end his life in St. Louis and he will have to rebuild his life in Canada, where he has earned the admiration and respect of many in the community."

Greenspan wouldn't comment on possible sentences, but said, "the range of punishment is a sentence involving imprisonment."

Justice Alexander Sosna will hear sentencing submissions on Dec. 18 and sentence Ramage on Jan. 17. Ramage, who has been free on bail for four years, returned to St. Louis.

Ramage was driving eastbound on Rutherford Rd. between Islington Ave. and Pine Valley Dr. when his rented Intrepid vehicle crossed four lanes of traffic and into on-coming traffic, clipping another vehicle before colliding with Pacheco's Pathfinder.

Magnuson, 56, a married father of two grown children who played in the NHL for 11 seasons, was pronounced dead at the scene.


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