Truck driver fined, given 18-month driving ban after woman killed in 2019 Toronto collision – Global News

The driver of a cement truck who struck and killed a 50-year-old woman while she was crossing a pedestrian crosswalk in midtown Toronto two years ago has pleaded guilty to careless driving causing death.

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Fifty-eight-year-old Ahmad Mumtaz-Shah wiped away tears as he listened to his lawyer Robert Wulkan tell the virtual court about the post-traumatic stress disorder his client has experienced since that tragic day two years ago.

“It was fairly clear from witnesses there was nothing intentional or willful which is why criminal charges were not laid,” said Wulkan, who stressed that Mumtaz-Shah must live with the consequences of his actions every day of his life.

“To this day, he continues to see a psychologist every second week. He doesn’t sleep well. There is a lack of joy in his life. There’s a long way for Mr. Mumtaz-Shah to go. He’s completely psychologically unable to sit in the front seat of a car,” he explained, adding that sitting in the backseat is also challenging, preventing him from returning to work.

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Wulkan continued that Mumtaz-Shah has told him he’s wracked with guilt and shame about what happened and is medicated for his PTSD.

It was 9:59 a.m. on Sept. 10, 2019, when Evangeline Lauroza, who was walking northbound through the pedestrian crosswalk from south to north on the eastbound side of Yonge Street at Erskine Avenue, was struck and dragged roughly 16 metres by a 2013 Mack mixer truck being driven by Mumtaz-Shah, who was turning off northbound Yonge Street onto Erskine Avenue.

#Exclusive The cement truck driver who struck and killed 50-year-old nanny Evangeline Lauroza while she was crossing the pedestrian intersection at Yonge St & Erskine Ave in Sept. 2019 has pleaded guilty to careless driving causing death. Driver fined $2000, 18 month driving ban pic.twitter.com/XFaQ7Br5Jm

— Catherine McDonald (@cmcdonaldglobal) November 16, 2021

According to an agreed statement of facts read out in court, video surveillance showed there were “no view obstructions between the truck and Ms. Lauroza.”

The front bumper of the truck struck Lauroza, who was knocked to the ground in front of the truck’s path of travel, and Mumtaz-Shah, unaware of the collision, continued travelling eastbound.

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It was only after witnesses waved down the driver that he brought the truck to a stop. Lauroza was pronounced dead at the scene.

“This was an avoidable collision. Mr. Mumtaz-Shah failed to perceive and react to Ms. Lauroza who was in his path of travel, and in doing so failed to exercise due care and attention,” said provincial prosecutor Jamie MacPherson, who read out the facts.

After the collision, Mumtaz-Shah exited the truck and sustained a self-inflicted injury. He struck his head on the truck and then walked to the north sidewalk and struck his head on a metal newspaper box. He was bleeding to the head and was transported to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre where he was treated for three days.

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His lawyer called it a “mental break” and explained that due to the PTSD, Mumtaz-Shah asked him to read out an apology to the family.

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“I’m deeply sorry for this tragedy. I can’t even imagine the devastation I have caused. I want you to know I’m very sorry.”

Justice of the Peace Roger Rodrigues agreed to a joint submission with respect to penalty handing Mumtaz-Shah a $2,000 fine, to be paid within 365 days, and an 18-month driving ban.

The penalty for a conviction of careless driving causing death could result in a fine between $2,000 and $50,000, up to a five-year license suspension and up to two years in prison.

Rodrigues took into account that the driver decided to take responsibility and plead guilty. He said this resolution also takes into account his remorse and the delay as a result of the pandemic.

“The consequences of the collision were tragic, but we also can’t lose track that on the continuum of careless driving, these are facts at the lower end. Upon being made aware of the collision, he (Mumtaz-Shah) stopped the vehicle immediately, stayed at the scene, and the reaction to what had occurred are there in the facts that were read in,” said Wulkan.

No victim impact statements were read in, and the tagalog interpreter that was on standby for Lauroza’s family was allowed to leave when it became clear that no family was attending the hearing.

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Andrew Muroff, Lauroza’s former employee, told Global News after court that he and his family think of Evangeline, who they called “Vangie,” every day.

Lauroza worked for the Muroff family as a nanny for ten years from the time the children were born and now, Lauroza’s sister works for them. He says the family is still devastated by the loss.

“I don’t know how punishing him (Mumtaz-Shah) any further would bring back her or make anything any better in this particular case,” said Muroff, but explained that her family thinks the sentence should have been stiffer.

“It’s a terrible thing that happened and somebody’s life was taken and at the same time, somebody else’s life was ruined,” he added.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.