updated 9/9/2009 6:32:31 PM ET 2009-09-09T22:32:31

A Canadian man has been sentenced to life in prison for mowing down a woman in a wheel chair while he was intoxicated. It was the man's 19th alcohol-related conviction, court officials said.

The life sentence handed down by a Quebec judge was the first for a drunken driving conviction in Canada's history, said Joey Davis, a prosecutor.

Roger Walsh, 57, had pleaded guilty to killing Anee Khudaverdian, who was out with her dog on her 47th birthday last year. She was propelled into a ditch after being struck.

Walsh, who admitted he had spent the night drinking, kept driving and was arrested about six miles away after driving into a ditch himself.

Quebec court judge Michel Mercier declared the man incorrigible and said he would be likely to commit further crimes.

Walsh's 18 previous impaired driving convictions and 114 previous convictions in total for assault, uttering threats, breaking and entering, and theft were entered into evidence.

Prosecutors also had wanted Walsh declared a "dangerous offender," but Mercier said the designation wasn't intended for drunken driving cases but was reserved for the worst criminals, like murderers and serial rapists.

Walsh's lawyer, Jacques Vinet, had proposed a 10-year sentence and noted that the life sentence was even longer than the prosecution had sought. Vinet said he would discuss with his client whether to appeal.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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