(Black Press Media files)

(Black Press Media files)

‘Fundamentally bizarre’: Edmonton woman who drove SUV into mother won’t go to prison

Judge concluded that woman had a hallucination

A woman who rammed an SUV into the side of an Edmonton fast-food restaurant and critically injured her mother won’t serve any time in prison.

Donna Elder, 62, was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and dangerous driving causing bodily harm. She was accused of trying to kill her then 85-year-old mother, Katherine Triplett, outside a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in July 2018.

Triplett died nearly nine months later, but the charges were not upgraded.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Brian Burrows found Elder, a former teacher and nun, not guilty of attempted murder and not criminally responsible because of a mental disorder on the two other charges.

“My reason for so concluding is that Ms. Elder’s conduct was so fundamentally bizarre,” Burrows said Tuesday in his judgment.

“Even if she and her mother had argued, which the evidence does not establish, for Ms. Elder to drive her car into her mother, through the wall and window of the KFC building which she had just exited and which she knew had several other people in it, and to thereby endanger several lives including her own … is an exceedingly disproportionate reaction.”

An agreed statement of facts submitted to the court says Elder and her mother went to the KFC to order takeout food. Triplett then waited outside for her daughter to get the vehicle.

It says Elder got into her Toyota RAV4 and drove it straight toward Triplett and struck her, knocking her through the window and into the restaurant. Elder then put the vehicle into reverse and drove a second time into the restaurant, pinning Triplett against the broken furniture, says the statement.

Bystanders were quoted in the statement as hearing Triplett say, “I don’t know why my daughter Donna would try to kill me.”

Triplett was taken to hospital, where the statement says she later had to have her left leg amputated below the knee and saw her poor respiratory health deteriorate.

Elder testified in court that she had heard a friendly male voice and other female voices when she got into her vehicle. She said the male voice told her “the pepper-haired woman was going to hurt my mother.”

She said she drove into the store to stop the pepper-haired woman, but did not remember driving into it twice.

“In cross-examination she testified that she was not trying to kill the pepper-haired woman with her car in order to protect her mother,” said the judgment. “She testified that she was certainly not trying to hurt her mother.

“She testified that she did not know how driving her car into the side of the KFC would protect her mother.”

Burrows noted that several different mental health experts testified at the trial, but they disagreed on whether Elder appreciated her actions at the time of the event and her overall diagnosis.

He ultimately accepted one expert report, which concluded Elder likely suffered a hallucination, as well as Elder’s testimony during the trial.

“Her conduct here is so far off reasonable conduct for anyone, and so very far off conduct for Ms. Elder herself, that in my view, it is likely that at the relevant moment her mind failed her — she did not process the nature and quality of her actions or their wrongfulness,” concluded Burrows.

His decision will now go to the Alberta Review Board, which is an independent tribunal established under the Criminal Code of Canada to make and review dispositions in such cases.

Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Court

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)
Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

The Victoria Police Department headquarters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation launched into man’s death after arrest in Victoria

IIO investigation to determine if police actions or inaction played a role in the man’s death

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest man covered in blood on heels of significant Saanich crash into woods

Resident calls in home invasion in progress after crash

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

Victoria School for Ideal Education at 2820 Belmont Avenue is the second school in Greater Victoria with an active confirmed COVID-19 exposure. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Private school becomes second Greater Victoria school with COVID-19 exposure

Victoria School for Ideal Education follows Lakeview Christian School in Saanich

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read