A 24-year-old Abbotsford man was handed a $1,500 fine and banned for driving for six months in Abbotsford Provincial Court Wednesday in connection with the 2013 car crash that killed his close friend.
The court heard that Raghubeer (Gagan) Singh Sidhu, 20, died in the arms of Maninderjit Brar shortly after the Acura Brar was driving left Townline Road, hit a culvert and flipped several times in the early morning hours of Aug. 6, 2013.
Brar had originally faced four charges in connection to the crime, including criminal negligence causing bodily harm. On Wednesday, after pleading guilty to the lesser charge of driving without due care and attention, he stood before the court and said he would like to apologize to Sidhu’s family, who were not present.
Four people were in the car when it crashed. Sidhu was ejected from the vehicle and sustained fatal blunt for injuries. While police had previously stated that Sidhu died in hospital, and that the three other occupants had asked an area resident to take the injured man to hospital instead of calling an ambulance, the court heard that Sidhu died at the scene of the crash.
The other occupants of the car were not seriously injured
After the crash, the surviving occupants of the car did not initially identify the driver. There were also “indications that all occupants of the vehicle had consumed some alcohol,” according to Crown Counsel Ross McLeod.
Only later was it determined that Brar had been driving, but by that time, police could not pursue a drinking and driving investigation, the court heard.
McLeod said the surviving passengers said they had seen Brar drinking beer, but could not say how much he had drank. Brar was driving his passengers northbound on Townline, en route to dropping one off in Mission, when the car drifted off the right side of the road and proceeded to flip. The crash happened shortly after a series of curves, and the speed limit was 30 km/h.
Investigators later calculated the post-impact speed of the car was between 70 and 92 km/h.
Despite the disparity between the speed the car was travelling and the posted limit, Crown said the driving wasn’t “necessarily dangerous,” as the road was straight.
Still, the speed the vehicle was travelling at was an aggravating factor and should be taken into account when deciding upon a sentence, McLeod argued.
The Crown asked for a fine and a nine-month driving prohibition. Brar’s lawyer, David Silverman, said a fine was appropriate but asked for a shorter, or no, ban on driving.
Silverman said his client expressed deep remorse for the crash.