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Jury delivers verdict in 2020 deadly Highway 12 impaired driving case

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Georgian Bay Township man Sigfrid Stahn has been found guilty of impaired driving causing death in the 2020 Highway 12 crash that claimed the life of 77-year-old Midland man Guenter Naumann.

During closing submissions Thursday, Crown Attorney Sarah Sullivan urged the jury of seven men and five women to hold 71-year-old Stahn responsible for his actions on July 4, 2020.

"He chose to put that truck into drive, and he did it while he was impaired," she stated. "Guenter Naumann would be the one to pay the ultimate price."

According to the Crown, Stahn was intoxicated and swerving in and out of the eastbound lane when he crossed double yellow lines into oncoming westbound traffic, ultimately crashing into Naumann's Mercedes convertible.

Naumann was airlifted to Sunnybrook in Toronto and died of his injuries days later.

Sullivan called the crash a "senseless head-on collision" that "claimed an innocent life."

She pointed to evidence of blood alcohol concentration collected from Stahn while in the hospital hours after the crash.

The toxicologists from the Centre of Forensic Sciences found Stahn's blood test to be over the legal limit at the time of the collision through back calculations.

Throughout the two-week trial, Stahn didn't dispute his blood alcohol level.

A pickup truck and convertible car are pictured after a deadly head-on collision on Highway 12 in Waubaushene, Ont., on July 4, 2020. (Source: OPP/Court Exhibit)

Stahn's lawyer, David Wilcox, asked the jury to consider why Naumann couldn't avoid the crash by steering away from the oncoming pickup truck, arguing the Midland man had time to react.

The defence urged the jury to consider whether Naumann had been on the phone at the time of the crash or if alcohol found in his body prevented him from reacting.

A pickup truck and convertible car are pictured after a deadly head-on collision on Highway 12 in Waubaushene, Ont., on July 4, 2020. (Source: OPP/Court Exhibit)

Earlier this week, court heard that two hospital samples taken in Midland and Toronto of Naumann's blood were found to have non-detectable levels while testing from the Centre of Forensic Sciences said contradictory test results made it difficult to conclusively say how much, if any, alcohol was in his system at the time of the crash.

Rejeanne Lachapelle was married to Naumann for 28 years and spent every day in the courtroom hoping for justice.

"I'll miss him. I'll always miss him," she said, and implored anyone who drinks and gets behind the wheel, "Please, please don't do it. It's not worth it."

"He's going away," said Lachapelle's sister, Ruth Roberts, after hearing Stahn's guilty verdict. "We're so glad it's over. It's been a long time. It's dragged out quite a bit."

"We got you justice," Roberts added as a message to her late brother-in-law.

Justice Michael McKelvey will hand down his sentencing at a later date.

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