Does a Pedestrian’s Death by a Driver, Warrant Stronger Sanctions?

Update:

“Justice has nothing to do with what goes on in a courtroom; Justice is what comes out of a courtroom”. – Clarence Darrow

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Motor vehicles came into contact with the following pedestrians, which resulted in the death of both of these pedestrians. Both resulted in guilty pleas to a charge of “Fail to Yield to Pedestrian” section of the Highway Traffic Act.

In both deadly traffic mishaps, the drivers were looking left — making sure there was no oncoming traffic — when they turned right and tragically ended the lives of two complete strangers.

You’ll be surprised of the results, following the convictions in both cases.

Diana Rowdon:

Diana Rowdon was an active 88 year old woman who enjoyed her daily walks as an opportunity to get out and to excercise.

On October 2, 2010 everything came to a crashing end. Well on one of her walks on Hurontario Street, in Mississauga, she was hit by 32 year old Alsea Wilson, who was driving a BMW.

After being hit by the BMW, Diana fell to the ground (unforgiving pavement) and fractured her skull. She was rushed to the hospital, but died the next day as a result of the injuries she sustained. The driver of the BMW, Alsea Wilson immediately stopped and called 911.

The police arrived at the scene and Ms. Alsea Wilson of Toronto, was charged.

On Friday, May 13, 2011 Alsea Wilson plead guilty to the charge of “Failing to Yield for a Pedestrian at a Cross Walk” and received the maximum fine under the Highway Traffic Act, $500.00 and accumulated three (3) demerit points on her driving record.

 

Tina Kuipers:

65 year old Tina Kuipers was crossing the street (Queen Street in Brampton) on April 13, 2010.

A 39 year old truck drive, Obarasiagbon Umanmwen, of Brampton, was driving the truck that hit Tina Kuipers. Obarasiagbon Umanmwen stopped his truck and phoned 911.

On Thursday, May 12, 2011 a year after Tina Kuipers death, the matter came to the courts for trial. Obarasiagbon Umanmwen the truck driver whose actions resulted in the death of Tina Kuipers, was not required to show up to face the Justice of the Peace to answer to his charge. Instead, his representative, a paralegal, Mark Reynolds showed up on his behalf. Mr. Reynolds plead guilty to the charge of “Failing to Yield” on behalf of his client and received a $500.00 fine and accumulated three (3) demerit points on her driving record.

Mr. Reynolds told the Justice of the Peace that Mr. Obarasiagbon Umanmwen would forever be troubled by his actions and would also pay a charitable donation of $500.00.

 

In both cases, the elderly pedestrians (88 & 65 years of age) were struck by vehicles, whose driver's were looking left for approaching traffic, before turning right and hitting the pedestrians.

Daryl Bowles of Hamilton has tried to do just that. The person who killed his father, Donald, received a four-month jail sentence for careless driving. Following his father’s death in November 2008, Bowles created a website, familiesfightingcarelessdriving.com. More than 2,000 people have signed a petition on the site calling for mandatory jail sentences, loss of driving privileges and higher fines for people convicted of careless driving where deaths occur.

For the low end of the offence — where inattentiveness or a momentary lapse in judgment leads to the lesser offence of fail to yield — the group wants a jail sentence of up to six months, a five-year mandatory licence suspension and a $5,000 fine.

“I’m not saying somebody who turns away for a quick moment should be treated the same way as somebody who drives maliciously and recklessly,” Bowles said. “But they still must be held responsible for the way they drive.”

For its part, Ontario’s transportation ministry has no plans to increase penalties for HTA convictions involving death, ministry spokesperson Bob Nichols said, pointing out that, in 2006, the Liberal government did increase fines and sanctions for drivers who don’t obey pedestrian crossing rules to a range of $150 to $500, up from $60 to $500.

And charges or fines aren’t the only consequences for drivers who accidentally hit pedestrians.

In most accident cases, families can and do file lawsuits against the driver and their insurance company. The drivers also receive demerit points, which makes getting car insurance much more costly, if they can get insured at all.

“… a long line of cases shows that it is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done”.

– Lord Hewart CJ in the appeal by McCarthy.

 

Update: July 7, 2011 – The wheels of justice

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