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'I was pretty reckless,' young driver admits

Teen pleads guilty for crash near Sudbury last summer

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A Brampton teenager whose vehicle struck a rock-cut in the Estaire area in mid-June of 2020, leaving much of it scattered across the highway, has been fined $1,500 for careless driving.

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“I’m just glad no one else got hurt except for me in this case,” Jason Prasad, 19, told Ontario Court Justice Andrew Buttazzoni via Zoom link Wednesday just before receiving the fine. “There should be no excuse. I was pretty reckless … I count my blessings every day.

“Driving is not a right. It’s a privilege. I should have taken it more serious … I’ve learned my lesson now. You live and learn.”

Prasad had pleaded guilty to the Highway Traffic Act charge of careless driving for the June 16, 2020, incident. As a result of the guilty plea, The Crown dropped a Criminal Code charge of failing to comply with conditions of a release order.

“You’re lucky you’re alive,” Buttazzoni told Prasad. “Mr. Prasad: consider yourself very fortunate.”

Buttazzoni, who had been asked by the Crown and defence lawyer Terry MacKay of Mississauga to impose a $1,000 fine, was also asked by the Crown to issue a six-month licence suspension.

McKay opposed the suspension, saying that Prasad needs his licence for his delivery work with his father’s automotive parts company. He added his client will be facing a big insurance hike due to the conviction and he had to complete an online defensive driving course following the crash.

The judge decided not to impose a licence suspension, but increased the fine to $1,500.

The court heard that about 7 a.m. June 16, 2020, Ontario Provincial Police received a call about a single-motor vehicle collision on Highway 69, just south of Nelson Road, in Burwash Township.

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When officers arrived, they found paramedics tending to a man lying on the highway beside what was left of a vehicle. The man – Prasad – was taken to Health Sciences North by ambulance.

Officers learned that Prasad had a G-level licence, had been travelling at a high rate of speed on a straight stretch of the highway that was dry at the time. Prasad lost control and struck a rock cut. About half of the vehicle ended up scattered across the highway.

MacKay said that at the time of the accident Prasad was 18 and had visited Greater Sudbury to sell some car parts for this father’s company. Prasad indicated Wednesday he was heading back to Brampton when the crash occurred and woke up later in hospital.

“Mr. Prasad was having some mental health issues at the time,” said the lawyer. “He acknowledges his driving was careless.”

MacKay said the crash left Prasad with serious injuries to a leg and a pulmonary contusion. He added that toxicology tests came back negative for the presence of alcohol and drugs.

MacKay also said that while in hospital, a social worker saw Prasad and the accident has provided him “with some impetus, a chance to turn over a new leaf. Since the incident, he has been seeing a psychiatrist.”

Assistant Crown attorney Jenna Ricard said a six-month licence suspension on top of a fine was necessary to drive home the message to Prasad his driving that day could have resulted in a loss of life.

“It could have been much worse,” she said.

hcarmichael@postmedia.com

Twitter: @HaroldCarmichae

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