'Cowardly' cab driver who drove away after running over teen girl gets 8 months in jail

A 72-year-old Calgary taxi driver who drove over a teenage girl and then fled the scene in what the judge called a "cowardly act" has been sentenced to eight months in jail.

Stanislaw Maguder was convicted of a hit and run knowing a death occurred last July after killing Tyla Chipaway, 16, in March 2015. Provincial court Judge Sean Dunnigan handed down the sentence on Monday.

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"It is difficult to imagine a more tragic situation," said Dunnigan. "Tyla Chipaway, for reasons known only to herself, seemed determined to end her life that night."

"Disaster was inevitable."

With a blood alcohol level of 0.21, Chipaway darted in and out of traffic, then decided to lie down in the middle of 16th Avenue N.W. around 3:30 a.m. 

Videos, including one from a camera pointed outside the cab at the roadway and another angled inside showing Maguder's reaction, captured the incident.

Maguder was never in trouble for causing Chipaway's death.

"No one, short of a Formula 1 driver, and perhaps not even they, could have stopped or taken evasive action," said Dunnigan.

But the judge said Maguder's actions were "callous and dangerous" and found the cab driver lied, tried to conceal evidence and that — as a professional driver — knew he had a duty to stop.

The court heard that in the minutes after he ran over the teen, Maguder sped in 11 different zones, blew through nine stop signs and ran four red lights. He then headed to a car wash, where he thoroughly cleaned his taxi and checked its undercarriage.

Video recorded inside his Associated Cab captured Maguder's post-incident mutterings.

"Why did I not brake? Why did I not brake?" Maguder said to himself in Polish. "Do not admit guilt. Do not admit guilt." 

The next day, the cab driver told a co-worker he thought he might have driven over a piece of luggage.

On top of his jail sentence, Maguder also faces an 18-month driving prohibition.

Defence lawyer Balfour Der proposed a suspended sentence or 90 days in jail served on weekends, while Crown prosecutor Pam McClusky asked for a 12 to 15-month jail term.

This is Maguder's first criminal conviction.

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