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Golf pro pleads guilty to killing skateboarder, 39, in drunken crash

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David MacMicken chose to speak from the witness box so he could face Richard McMahon’s family to tell them he is “filled with sorrow and remorse.”

His voice was breaking. “I need to tell you how deeply sorry I am for my actions on Feb, 8, 2022. That date will forever be seared in my memory.”

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Sitting in the London courtroom Tuesday was Peggy Iliffe, McMahon’s mother, who leaned forward to ensure she heard everything said by the 52-year-old former golf pro who got behind the wheel of his SUV drunk, ran over the 39-year-old McMahon on Oxford Street in northwest London and then drove home, hoping nobody noticed.

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He was arrested after his wife called the police.

“I’m not expecting you to forgive me, as I can’t forgive myself,” MacMicken said to the family.

MacMicken
David MacMicken.

MacMicken, who’d been a golf pro at the Oaks Golf and Country Club in Delaware, said it took the deadly crash for him to understand the depths of his alcoholism and start on a path of rehabilitation.

Tuesday, MacMicken pleaded guilty to driving with more than 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliltres of blood causing death and failing to remain at the scene of a crash. He has no criminal record, but he is facing a prison sentence.

Superior Court Justice Michael Carnegie said MacMicken was “a ticking time bomb” after decades of abusing alcohol when he struck and killed McMahon, 39, on Oxford Street West just before 11 p.m.

McMahon was heading home on his skateboard after finishing an evening shift as a short order cook.

Assistant Crown attorney Adam Campbell said MacMicken was driving eastbound on Oxford Street West and was approaching the intersection at Laurel Street, just west of Wonderland Road, when he struck McMahon, who was trying to cross the street.

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A motorist following MacMicken saw a body fall to the ground from the hood of MacMicken’s SUV as it drove away.

McMahon, Campbell said, was face-down in the centre of the road, unresponsive and not breathing. McMahon was rushed to hospital but pronounced dead shortly after midnight.

London police received a call from MacMicken’s wife just before midnight to tell them her husband had struck “a homeless male on Oxford Street West,” and told her no one had seen the crash, Campbell told Carnegie.

Police located MacMicken’s SUV in his apartment building’s parking lot and saw the hood was crushed and bloodied. There was a sizable hole in the windshield and a blood smear on the passenger side. Campbell said there was blood dripping onto the floor boards.

They found MacMicken in his apartment. He had blood on his jacket and feet and his pupils were dilated. His blood-alcohol level was tested more than two hours after the crash: At 1:45 a.m. it was 0.134 and at 2:24 a.m. it was 0.122, both above the legal limit of 0.08.

McMahon was described by his family as a “sweet and kind” man who loved skateboarding, parkour, music, Star Trek, books, healthy food and yoga. He was the only grandson in the family and died just months before his grandfather.

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Several victim impact statements were read at the hearing from McMahon’s extended family. Iliffe called her son “a very lovable soul.” Losing him, she said, means “no more hugs, no more laughter, no more Christmases or hearing his voice say ‘Hey mom, I love you.’”

His uncle, Jules LeBoeuf, said losing McMahon has “cast an enormous shadow on our family” and pointed to recent Ontario Provincial Police statistics showing a 16 per cent increase in impaired driving cases from 2022 to 2023. “Sadly, Richard has been captured and immortalized as an impaired driving statistic. He lives on in our hearts and our memories.”

MacMicken
Richard McMahon’s parents. Rick and Peggy Iliffe, are shown outside the London courthouse on Tuesday March 12, 2024. (Jane Sims/The London Free Press)

The Crown and defence suggested a prison sentence of four-and-a-half years, but disagreed on the length of the driving suspension. Campbell called for 10 years, while defence lawyer Luke Reidy asked for three years.

Reidy said MacMicken suffered from a learning disability as a child and was bullied at school. He was introverted and shy, but found comfort and a passion in golf.

He built a career with the sport and found alcohol helped him overcome his shyness. He experienced tragedy during his first marriage when he lost an infant son. He and his second wife had a son who was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 3, and survived.

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MacMicken continued to abuse alcohol for decades and became adept at hiding his addiction from friends and family, Reidy said. Since the crash, he has committed himself to rehabilitation, counselling and therapy. He has been sober for two years.

Campbell said while the conduct was egregious, MacMicken’s guilty pleas saved the family and the courts a lengthy trial.

Carnegie pointed out that “sadly, London plays a rather tragic starring role” in the development of impaired driving law because of the number of serious cases in the region during the past decade. The current starting point for sentencing a first-time offender in an impaired driving case, he said, is four to six years in prison.

He wanted time to read MacMicken’s 20 letters of reference and the medical records before giving a judgement on March 28.

jsims@postmedia.com

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