Woman convicted of striking girl in Saanich crosswalk to be sentenced next month
VICTORIA -- A woman who was convicted last month of dangerous driving causing bodily harm to an 11-year-old Saanich girl will be sentenced for the crime next month.
Tenessa Nikirk, who is in her early 20s, was behind the wheel of a Mercedes SUV that struck Leila Bui at a crosswalk in December 2017, leaving the girl with severe brain damage and a fractured neck.
Nikirk will be sentenced in the Victoria Law Courts on March 31. She was found guilty on Jan. 27 in front of a packed courtroom that included Leila and her family.
Kairry Nguyen, Leila's mother, said at the time the verdict offered "some comfort that we did teach her right and she is a smart girl and it's not her fault."
During the trial, which began in late November, defence lawyer Tom Morino argued that Nikirk might not have been able to see Leila crossing the road.
Crown prosecutor Jess Patterson noted that Nikirk engaged in a number of dangerous-driving behaviours, including tailgating, dangerous passing, speeding and texting while driving.
Witnesses also testified that Nikirk was texting while driving and crossing a yellow line into the oncoming lane to pass vehicles before the crash occurred.
A video expert hired by police testified during the trial that Nikirk's SUV was travelling in excess of 100 km/h before the crash and came to a stop about 18 to 20 metres beyond where it struck the girl.
"I am left with no doubt that the accused drove both before the accident and at the time of the accident in a manner that was dangerous to other users of the road," Judge Mayland McKimm wrote in his decision.
Bui, now 12 years old, suffered what the Crown described as "catastrophic injuries," including a permanent brain injury, a broken neck and a ruptured spleen.