A Quebec man who killed four members of the same family in a car crash last September in Quebec City has been handed one of the toughest sentences ever given in the province for a drunk driving conviction.

Quebec court Judge Jean-Louis Lemay sentenced Eric Legare today at the Quebec City courthouse to 16 years in prison.

James Fletcher, 68; his daughter, Shellie Fletcher-Lemieux, 44; and her two children, Emma Lemieux, 10, and Jackson Fortin, 14, were all killed in the crash, and two other people in a separate vehicle were injured.

The Crown had sought a sentence of between 18 and 20 years for Legare, while his lawyer had countered with a 10-year prison term.

Legare, 44, had pleaded guilty to several charges last Dec. 14, including impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death.

Lemay noted in his judgment that Legare was driving at least 130 kilometres an hour in a 70 km/h zone in the city's Beauport district. The level of alcohol in his blood was nearly three times the legal limit, and he also had a high amount of cannabis in his system.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 22, 2022.