Victims’ families storm out after not-guilty verdict 0
Emotions ran high after the acquittal of a 26-year-old woman charged in the deaths of two people in a 2010 car accident in Pitt Meadows as the family of the deceased voiced displeasure with the verdict. (JEREMY NUTTALL/ 24 HOURS)
A woman charged in a deadly Pitt Meadows accident that claimed the lives of two people was found not guilty Wednesday in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
In a packed and tense courtroom, the families of Rebecca Dyer and John De Oliveira were overcome with emotion and left the gallery en masse upon hearing Andelina Hecimovic was acquitted in the 2010 deaths.
One family member kicked a garbage can and broke a table in the courthouse on his way out.
Hecimovic was charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing death after her car ran a red light, swerved to avoid a median at the intersection of Harris Road and Lougheed Highway, and eventually bounced off the roof of a vehicle containing Dyer and Oliveira, killing them.
During the trial, Hecimovic told the court that at the time of the crash she was distracted from a bad day at work and unfamiliar with the intersection.
Supreme Court Judge Miriam Gropper said she believed Hecimovic’s actions were careless, but not criminal.
Gropper said the Crown did not prove that Hecimovic’s actions of running the light and moving into a right-hand lane meant for turning were calculated choices.
Gropper said there had to be a “marked departure” from accepted norms of behaviour for Hecimovic to be found guilty of crimes, and the Crown had not satisfied the requirement.
The families of Dyer and De Oliveira disagreed with the judge’s verdict, saying Hecimovic has escaped punishment.
“There has to be some accountability here,” said Dyer’s mother, Debbie. “Of course there was marked departure — she chose to go into that lane, she chose to run the red light.”
She said she is looking at the legal options available, including the possibility the Crown would appeal the verdict.