(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

Allayah Yoli Thomas had recently turned 12 years old when she died of a suspected drug overdose April 15. (Courtesy of Adriana Londono)
Suspected overdose death of Saanich girl, 12, speaks to lack of supports, says mom

Allayah Yoli Thomas was found dead by her friend the morning of April 15

The Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors in July 2021. (Malahat SkyWalk photo)
Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors this July

Highly anticipated attraction will take guests 250m above sea level

Illegal goods seized in the simultaneous April 23 busts in Saanich and Sooke. (Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
RCMP drug busts net trucks, cocaine, cash and Hells Angels gear

Simultaneous searches coordinated between West Shore, Saanich and Sooke police

The Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre on Wilkinson Road in Saanich. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police watchdog investigates after man found unresponsive at Saanich jail

Man was in Victoria police custody the day before being found

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Members of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. (File photo)
B.C.-wide #DayOfMusic to feature 100-plus free virtual concerts May 15

‘Our colleagues across the province have figured out new ways to perform and connect,’ VSO boss says

Two passengers were recently fined thousands of dollars after they faked their pre-flight COVID-19 test results. (Paul Clarke/Black Press)
2 passengers in Canada fined thousands for faking pre-flight COVID-19 tests

The government issued a warning Thursday to others thinking of doing the same – do it and you’ll be ordered to pay

(File)
With revenge porn on the rise in 2021, B.C. seeks feedback for new legislation

New legislation could help victims take down images and receive compensation

Port Alberni RCMP are investigating a homicide on Third Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
RCMP investigating homicide in Port Alberni apartment

Investigators are still trying to determine the identity of the deceased

(Kamloops This Week file photo)
Federal police unit takes over probe of B.C. regional district’s spending

Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit is now reviewing the case

A black bear made a visit to downtown Vancouver Tuesday, May 4. The animal was spotted on train tracks in Gastown shortly after at 2:30 p.m. (Twitter/Craig Minielly)
VIDEO: Black bear spotted meandering around downtown Vancouver

The bear was reportedly tranquilized by conservation officers Tuesday afternoon

Most Read