Driver fined $2000 for running over toddler in stroller

Kelina - posted on 06/09/2012 ( 7 moms have responded )




The man who struck and killed a toddler in a stroller in 2009 was given a $2,000 fine in court today under the motor vehicle act. He has not been given a driving prohibition, but could face restrictions from the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles.

William Mah, 44, a tow truck driver, pleaded guilty to one count of careless driving, after criminal charges against him were dropped.

Crown and defence entered a joint submission for a fine and no driving prohibition, but the family is not happy with the decision.

The little girl and her mother were at the corner of Abbott Street and Expo Boulevard in August 2009 when Mah struck them.

He was driving a flatbed truck, and turning right onto Expo Boulevard on a red light. The mother was pushing her child in a stroller across the street on a green light. The child was killed at the scene.

The criminal charges against Mah were dropped because new evidence surfaced suggesting Mah was not driving as dangerously as previously thought.

Defence said Mah's guilty plea is, in their opinion, the most sincere form of an apology.

Mah has an extensive driving record, including 16 ticketed fines between 2000 and 2009, including four for speeding, and five for failing to stop at at a traffic light or stop sign.

A friend of my husband's posted this on facebook the other night and I got into a slight disagreement with my BIL of all people. He thinks the fine and the guilt of knowing what happened is enough. I totally disagree-he took a life that can never be brought back because he either failed to stop at a red, or didn't bother looking at the crosswalk in front of him. Thoughts? opinions?

ETA: a few more different articles on the same story


Becky - posted on 06/09/2012




It is legal to turn right on a red light, generally (unless the intersection is signed otherwise), but only if the intersection is clear of pedestrians and oncoming traffic. The car turning right on red does not have the right of way over any other traffic or pedestrians. It isn't clear from the article whether the mother was crossing legally or not, but I'm guessing she was, because I'm pretty sure a much bigger deal would have been made of the fact that she was crossing against the light if that had been the case, since it would have been a major part of the accused's defense. From the other 2 articles, it sounds like he was distracted and did not check to make sure the intersection was clear before turning, not that the mother was not supposed to be there. Clearly he did something wrong, or he wouldn't have been fined at all.
I know it's not the same in all provinces, so I"m not sure about BC, but here in Alberta, the driver is always at fault in a pedestrian accident, even if the pedestrian was jaywalking. The pedestrian always has the right of way if they have stepped off the curb. So my guess is, had this happened here, he would have received a harsher penalty. Although sometimes the sentences people get here really leave me shaking my head, so who knows!
I am fairly disgusted though, I think he got off way too easily. Driving is a huge responsibility and I don't think being distracted by a skateboarder and construction is an excuse for taking a life.


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Mary - posted on 06/10/2012




There is no denying that this entire story is tragic all around. I am absolutely heartbroken for this family who lost their child, and can't even imagine how devastated their lives are as a result of this accident. I'm sure that when not consumed with grief, they are intensely angry at this driver - and that's totally understandable, but perhaps not completely rational.

I agree with others that the details are a little too muddled for me to really understand precisely what happened. However, I strongly get the impression that the court's decision was based on the opinion that a combination of factors (the construction, the skateboarder) created a situation where it is reasonable to think that any normal driver may have had a similar outcome if placed in the exact scenario this driver was. In other words, he wasn't unduly careless or negligent.

I like to think that I am a fairly safe driver. In the 24 years that I have been driving, I have only had two speeding tickets (the last of which was over 10 years ago, and neither of them were excessive). The one and only car accident I have been in was the "fault" of the other driver; I was rear-ended. That being said, I am not so arrogant as to think that I am infallible when behind the wheel, or that I couldn't have a similar thing happen to me. I've had more than one near-miss in my lifetime, and it's taught me to not judge others so harshly, or place any undue blame on their shoulders.

Just last week, I was backing out of a parking space in a busy lot. I'd been sitting there for a minute or so, waiting for it to be clear to back out. I'd turned my head several times in both directions to look for both cars and pedestrians. I thought I was totally clear, but as I started to pull out, I saw a shopper out of the corner of my eye. She was coming from the opposite direction from where I had last looked, and had not been there 30 seconds ago. I was neither negligent nor distracted, but if I had hit her with my SUV, it could have been catastrophic. In this, and a million other similar scenarios, the driver would certainly have been the cause of injuries suffered by the pedestrian, but would it have been my "fault' and warranted severe punishment?

From what I can gather, this driver was not speeding. He was making a legal turn. The fact that it was at an area under construction suggests to me that visibility make have been somewhat impacted. The mention of a skateboarder popping into the road is a the type of thing that can distract even the most cautious of drivers, and is not something under the control of the driver. It's simply human nature that something like that would momentarily divide your attention. Any driver who claims to have never been distracted by something going on in the world around them is just flat-out lying. Someone who hasn't had an accident as a result of a fly suddenly buzzing by them, or some other sudden, unexpected sight in their peripheral vision isn't a better or more attentive driver - they are just luckier than this guy was.

I understand the family's desire for "justice", and that inescapable need to see someone punished for the tragedy that befell them. It's a totally normal response. I just don't know that it's completely justified in this case. There was no intent to cause harm on the part of the driver. The source of his distraction(s) were not of his making - he wasn't on his phone, talking to another passenger, chemically impaired, handing a snack back to his kid, or digging around in his console for sunglasses, change for a toll, or any of the other million and one things we all do on a daily basis while driving that causes less than 100% of out attention from being on the task at hand.

Kelina - posted on 06/09/2012




As far as I'm aware the rules are the same here-at least that's what my mom always told me one of the few times she consented to drive with me! I just couldn't believe it-when I'm driving I'm expecting that if I get into an accident that is my fault, or hurt someone because I'm not paying attention, I'm going to deal with consequences far worse than a fine the size of my credit card bill.

Jodi - posted on 06/09/2012




I must admit, I am a little confused, was the mother crossing legally or illegally?

The article also says "The criminal charges against Mah were dropped because new evidence surfaced suggesting Mah was not driving as dangerously as previously thought." This hasn't been clarified. So I think before I could form an opinion on it, I'd need those answers.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 06/09/2012




From what I have read, the dirver turned right on a red light. I am not sure of the road laws there but here, you can turn right on a red light. I also read that the mother was crossing the part of the street that had a green light. Um, you aren't suppose to cross on a green light.

Truthfully, if what I have read is accurate, it really wasn't the guys fault. Yes, it is a terrible accident but you have to be careful when you are walking across a street. Make sure you look both ways at least twice and make eye contact with any drivers to make sure they are fully stopped and see you.

Amy - posted on 06/09/2012




I don't know I couldn't figure out from reading all the articles if he had the right of way or if he had a red light and the woman using the crosswalk had the go ahead to cross. I also don't think it's necessarily fair to bring up his past driving record since most of them are from 11 years prior if I recall (I may be wrong). I have a pretty extensive accident and ticket record from the age of 17-25, that was over 7 years ago I've settled down since having kids.

I do feel for the family no one should have to bury a child!

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