Bystanders tried to save 'inseparable' couple hit by car on Christmas Eve, court hears

Their obituary describes them as "always inseparable."

Last Christmas Eve, they "completed their life journey together."

George Balint, 64, and Lucinda Yaworski, 67, were walking in a marked crosswalk when they were struck on Dec. 24, 2018. They died despite the best efforts of passersby who tried to save the couple.

Balint was dragged under the SUV for 20 metres. Yaworski was run over.

On Wednesday, Harpreet Sandhu, who struck the couple, pleaded guilty to careless driving, a Traffic Safety Act violation. 

Sandhu struggled after the accident and was hospitalized following a suicide attempt in the months after Balint and Yaworski died.

"I take full responsibility for what happened on that day, I know I have caused great pain," Sandhu said after she pleaded guilty. "I will not ask for forgiveness, but please realize I never intended to take such special people from you."

Passersby lift SUV

Just before noon on Christmas Eve, Sandhu was making a left turn from Hawkstone Drive onto John Laurie Boulevard N.W. in her Toyota 4Runner. Her young children were in the back of the SUV.

The couple was out for a walk and crossed in a marked crosswalk when they were struck. 

Balint was knocked down and dragged under the car.

Several Good Samaritans worked together to lift Sandhu's Toyota off Balint, who was pinned underneath. Others grabbed the driver's young children out of the vehicle. 

Balint died 11 minutes after arriving at hospital. Yaworski died at the scene.

Sandhu receives maximum penalty

It's believed Sandhu was driving 20 to 35 km/h at the time. Officers who reconstructed the scene determined Sandhu did not see the couple. 

Judge Margaret Keelaghan heard that the couple had dedicated hundreds of hours volunteering with the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, helping to settle new immigrant and refugee families.

Family members of the victims described the deep pain and trauma they've experienced since the accident.

The family hopes to create a scholarship fund for new immigrants as a way to commemorate the couple.

Defence lawyer Roxanne Haniff-Darwent and prosecutor Marlo MacGregor asked Keelaghan to impose a $2,000 fine, the maximum penalty for the offence, as well as a 90-day driving prohibition.