Man charged with impaired driving in hit-and-run death of popular Burnaby cyclist

·2 min read

A man has been charged with impaired driving in the hit-and-run death of a popular cyclist who was killed while riding up Gaglardi Way in Burnaby on June 29, 2019.

Sumeet Mangat faces two counts of impaired driving causing the death of Charles Masala, one count of dangerous driving causing death and one count of failing to remain at the scene of an accident.

The charges were sworn Wednesday and Mangat made his first appearance in Vancouver Provincial Court Thursday morning.

The 34-year-old Surrey man was released on bail with a condition that he not operate a motor vehicle. He is scheduled to make his next appearance April. 6.

'Charles was an amazing human being'

Masala's death sparked outrage, along with calls for increased safety measures along Gaglardi Way, a popular route for cyclists testing themselves against the steep slope of Burnaby Mountain.

Masala, 53, left behind a wife and two young children.

Shane MacKichan
Shane MacKichan

"Charles was an amazing human being. His smile and laughter were so infectious it instantly lit up a room," his friend Jenn Dunlop wrote in a tribute on a GoFundMe page dedicated to Masala's family.

"No matter how you were feeling, you couldn't help but smile back. He was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone who needed it whether he knew that person or not."

The incident occurred at about 1:30 p.m. on a Saturday in the 1500 block of Gaglardi Way, the road leading up to Simon Fraser University.

In the aftermath of Masala's death, a petition was launched calling for speed enforcement cameras and a separated bike lane along Gaglardi Way.

"Charles' death could have been prevented," the petition read. "Separated bike lanes, barriers, speeding deterrents and education could have saved his life."

An engineer, Masala grew up in Zambia and saw his life transformed by education.

Masala was the founder of Dwankhozi Hope, an organization devoted to providing financial support for programs including education, community development, agriculture and health needs in Zambia.

"As an inspirational leader, he realized a dream that education could change lives and transform the world," the organization wrote in a tribute to Masala.

"Charles Masala made the world a better place."