Woman who struck girl in Saanich crosswalk found guilty of dangerous driving
VICTORIA -- Tenessa Nikirk has been found guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm to an 11-year-old Saanich girl.
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 wiped away tears as the verdict was read Monday. Lelia was with her family inside the packed courtroom for the verdict.
"We wanted her to hear what the judge's decision was," said Tuan Bui, Leila's father.
"We want people to know that this is what happened... that she had a lot of goals and ambitions in life and it was taken away from her."
Kairry Nguyen, Leila's mother, said 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 Monday.
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.