Two drivers fined $1,600 after both struck teenage exchange student

$1,600 for deadly crash

“I have forever lost the love, comfort and support of my sister’s companionship,” says Ana Girotto, the sister of 14-year-old Fernanda Girotto, a Brazilian exchange student struck and killed while walking in a Burnaby crosswalk on Jan. 17, 2018.

In a victim impact statement read out in Vancouver provincial court by Crown prosecutor Geordie Proulx, Ana Girotto said she feels guilty for not having walked to school with her little sister that day.

“I was feeling unwell and stayed at home,” she said. “I often think that, had I been with her that day, she would still be alive,” she said.

“It is impossible for any words to articulate the grief that comes with losing a child,” mother Rosana Girotto wrote in her victim impact statement.

The statements were read out at the sentencing of Paul Oliver Wong and Kai Man Cheu, who had been found guilty of driving without due care and attention in Girotto’s death.

Both men had been driving to work at around 7 a.m. on Cariboo Road near the Highway 1 overpass.

Girotto was hit first by Wong’s pickup and then by Cheu’s sedan as she lay injured in the crosswalk. Cheu had driven around Wong’s stopped vehicle before hitting her.

There was no evidence speed or alcohol had been factors.

Proulx said Cheu should be fined $1,000 and be prohibited from driving for a year.

But Wong should get a $2,000 fine and a two-year driving prohibition, Proulx said, because his driving record, which included two distracted driving convictions in 2014 and 2016, was “a serious aggravating factor.”

Judge David St. Pierre disagreed.

He began his reasons for sentence by reminding the court that he had found the men guilty of only a “momentary lapse in their duty of care in driving.”

“Was the driving rash and reckless? No. Was there speeding or evidence of a lengthy period of negligent driving? There was not,” St. Pierre said.

He ordered them both to pay a $1,600 fine.

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