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Mother sentenced to house arrest for death of toddler in Grand River

Michelle Hanson pleaded guilty in November to one count of criminal negligence causing death
Kaden Young

A 38-year-old woman has been sentenced to house arrest for the death of her three-year-old son, who drowned after she drove onto a flooded road and failed to save him.

Michelle Hanson managed to get Kaden Young out of the car, but lost her grip when the Grand River washed him away on Feb. 21, 2018, near Orangeville Ont.

Hundreds searched for the boy daily until his body was found underneath a bridge two months later.

Hanson pleaded guilty in November to one count of criminal negligence causing death.

She had admitted to drinking alcohol and then taking Young out for a drive because he could not sleep.

Court heard she drove around a large sign that said the road was closed due to an overflowing river during a winter thaw, and ended up partially submerged in the fast-moving water.

Justice Gisele Miller accepted a joint position from the Crown and defence on sentencing.

Hanson will be under house arrest for 18 months followed by six months with a nightly curfew. 

She also must attend counselling for grief and substance use.

"No penalty imposed by this court will ever have the effect of punishing Michelle Hanson more than she has punished herself for her reckless actions and no doubt will continue to punish herself for the rest of her life," Justice Gisele Miller said Tuesday.

"No penalty this court could impose will ever bring Kaden back or lessen anguish felt by those close to him because of his death and its circumstances."

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