Charges laid in pedestrian death at Bathurst and Eglinton in Toronto
A 45-year-old truck driver has been charged with careless driving in the death of a 22-year-old woman last November.
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A truck driver is facing charges in the death of a 22-year-old pedestrian—but advocates say the charges are inadequate and the driver is unlikely to see jail time.
The victim was crossing Eglinton at Bathurst on the morning of Nov. 27 when she was hit by a right-turning truck. The 45-year-old driver is facing three relatively minor Highway Traffic Act charges: failing to yield to pedestrian, careless driving and failing to stop at a red light.
Lawyer Patrick Brown, a pedestrian safety advocate, said the most serious charge is careless driving, which carries a fine between $400 and $2,000 or up to six months in jail.
But “what normally happens they plead to one of the two other offences and get a fine,” Brown said.
Brown also noted the driver will not be required to appear in court to face the charges. That means he won’t be required to hear a victim impact statement from the woman’s family.
Brown is among a group of advocates calling on the province to pass a “Vulnerable Road Users” law, which would implement higher penalties for drivers who injure and kill pedestrians and cyclists.
“There is a troubling gap between Criminal Code penalties and the inadequate regime under the (Highway Traffic Act) in cases of death or serious injury,” said Albert Koehl, another local lawyer.
Koehl believes the municipal government should also require trucks operating within city limits to have sideguards, which can prevent pedestrians from being pulled underneath the vehicle and killed.
At time of the fatal collision, four streetlights near where the woman was killed were not working. The city and Toronto Hydro were aware of the problem for 10 days prior to the fatal collision, but Toronto Hydro only fixed the lights after being contacted by Metro—three days after the woman’s death.