Ramage 'has paid the price'

Rob Ramage. (Sun Media/Michael Peake)

Rob Ramage. (Sun Media/Michael Peake)

DON PEAT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:54 AM ET

NEWMARKET -- They've forgiven former Maple Leafs captain Rob Ramage for the drunk-driving crash that killed their father and husband, now they want the court to show leniency when he's sentenced next month.

The family of former Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Keith Magnuson made the request during victim impact statement at Ramage's sentencing hearing yesterday.

"Please understand that as the direct victims of this crime, a prison sentence will not be seen as any measure of justice," Magnuson's son, Kevin, told Justice Alexander Sosna. "Rob Ramage has already paid the price for this mistake."

The former NHLer watched as Magnuson's son stood in the courtroom reading the statement with his mother, Cynthia, and sister, Molly, standing at his side.

"My dad always taught us the importance of forgiveness," Magnuson said. "Since the day he died, the three of us have made a point to forgive Rob for his mistake."

DIED INSTANTLY

Magnuson, 56, died instantly when a rental car driven by Ramage, 48, slammed head-on into another vehicle in Woodbridge on Dec. 15, 2003.

In October, Ramage was found guilty of impaired and dangerous driving causing death.

Magnuson's son said sending Ramage to jail would harm his wife, Dawn, and the couple's children. "Effectively, you would be adding three more victims to this tragic series of events," he said.

Instead, the family asked that Ramage be sentenced to travel North America speaking to high school athletes about the dangers of drunk driving.

$9.5 MILLION SUIT

Last month, a Missouri jury awarded the Magnuson family $9.5 million US in their civil suit against Ramage and National Car Rentals of Canada. The family said it will use proceeds from the suit to form the Keith Magnuson Charitable Foundation.

Michelle Pacheco, 43, the woman driving the vehicle Ramage struck, also delivered a victim impact statement. Pacheco told the court she suffered a fractured heel and said she still feels almost constant back and leg pain.

"It's something I'll never get over," Pacheco told court.

York Crown attorney Paul Tait asked for a sentence of three to five years, along with a concurrent sentence of nine to 12 months.

Ramage's lawyer, Brian Greenspan, referenced a range of sentences between 15 months and two years less a day from previous cases.

A booklet of more than 100 letters detailing Ramage's character and charitable work was submitted.

Former Leaf Mike Gartner, along with former NHLers Mike Kitchen and Stu Grimson, sat through yesterday's proceedings.

Ramage is to be sentenced Jan. 17.


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