Husband gets $85 fine for crash that killed wife

January 29, 2013 - All News

A Churchill Meadows man made an unsafe left turn and caused a crash that killed his wife, a Justice of the Peace in Mississauga has ruled.
Khilan Patel, 34, was found guilty on Friday under the Highway Traffic Act of making an unsafe turn that led to the Feb. 3, 2011 crash that killed his wife, 31-year-old Apna Thakrar.
Justice of the Peace Sally Fallon ordered Patel to pay a fine of $85. The maximum allowed under the act is $500.
The fine levied was in accordance with a joint submission made by Crown prosecutor Sarah Stackhouse and defence lawyer Fred Shanahan.
Court heard testimony last week that Patel said he didn’t see the truck that hit his vehicle.
Patel broke down during testimony given last Thursday by John Abraham, the driver of the white Ford F-150 that crashed into his silver Honda Civic.
Inconsolable, Patel left the courtroom. He never returned.
Thakrar was a passenger in the Honda when it was struck by Abraham’s Ford F150 pickup just after 6:35 p.m. at Erin Centre Blvd. and Palmetto Place, just west of Winston Churchill Blvd.
Abraham was describing the aftermath of the crash and how he got out of his truck to tend to the occupants of the Civic.
While describing Thakrar in the vehicle and how her seat was reclined, Patel began sobbing.
“We’re coming close to the anniversary date (of the crash),” Patel’s lawyer, Fred Shanahan, told the court in explaining his client could no longer sit through proceedings. “Although he’s had a lot of therapy, care and counselling, he still is not well.”
Abraham said he was heading westbound on Erin Centre Blvd. just after 6:35 p.m. when Patel’s vehicle turned left directly in front of him, from eastbound Erin Centre to northbound Palmetto Place.
The truck collided with the passenger side of the Honda. Patel and his wife were returning home from work.
“I swerved to the right to try to avoid the car and ended up colliding with it,” he said while being questioned by Stackhouse. “I don’t even believe I had a chance to break. The car turned right into my direction of travel.”
Abraham added there was “no chance” to avoid the crash. He said he tended to Patel and his wife and phoned 9-1-1.
After Peel Region Paramedics arrived and while speaking to Patel at the scene, Abraham said the accused told him: “I didn’t see you. I wasn’t looking. I was looking at another car.”
Abraham testified Patel “looked scared” and confused.
The truck driver later rejected suggestions from Shanahan that he made up parts of his conversation with Patel to rid himself of fault.
“I remember the conversation like it was yesterday,” he said.
Abraham also said he didn’t see the Civic flashing its left turn signal prior to the crash.
“For a left turn, the car was going fast,” he said.
Peel Regional Police Const. Ken Wright, a collision reconstructionist with the force’s Major Collision Bureau, attended the scene that evening.
He said there were no visible obstructions that would have prevented Patel from seeing the oncoming truck.
“It was well-illuminated. There were street lights,” he said, describing much of Erin Centre Blvd. that night as damp and wet.
Wright said the Civic sustained “major damage,” with the passenger-side door severely smashed in.
Souhila Diaf, who witnessed the crash, said the Civic was stopped and waiting to make a left onto Palmetto.
Diaf, who had her husband as a passenger in the car, was driving westbound on Erin Centre and turning right onto Palmetto when she “heard a big noise. We looked back and saw the white truck pushing the (Honda).”
— Metroland News Service