The driver of a vehicle involved in the crash that killed three St. Clair College students last year has plead guilty to careless driving and fined $1,000.
Sehajpreet Singh, 21 from India, entered his plea in Sarnia Court on Sept. 24.
The three students died when the BMW they were travelling in left Oil Heritage Rd. just south of Oil Springs in the early hours of Oct. 4. The driver is still facing charges in connection with the accident.
Five months after the crash, Lambton OPP arrested Sehajpreet Singh for being involved.
Singh’s link to the crash was discovered following an examination of the wrecked BMW. An audio file – which had to be sent to an interpreter – was found that proved Singh and the driver of the BMW were talking on the phone while speeding down Oil Heritage Line just before the crash.
On that call, Singh expressed concern at the BMW’s high rate of speed saying he was driving 180 km/h so the BMW must be going more than 200 km/h.
Court heard that Singh was picking up his wife from work at High Park Farms on Lasalle Road around 1 am. His Chevy Cruze had four passengers, including Singh’s wife, as it left to drive south on Oil Heritage Rd returning home to Windsor.
Singh found himself following a BMW driven by Jovanpreet Singh. Sehajpreet Singh overtook the BMW – which was carrying four people inside – at a high rate of speed. The BMW quickly passed the Chevy Cruze again.
Court heard it was a rainy night causing slick roads.
Shortly after this Jovanpreet Singh lost control of the BMW as he entered the curve at Oil Heritage and Aberfeldy Line. The car was travelling 210 km/h.
The BMW went off the road and struck a stop sign, rolling so violently the roof was torn off. Three passengers in the back seat – Harpreet Kour, Gurvinder Singh, and Tanveer Singh – were thrown from the vehicle.
All three were pronounced dead at the scene. Jovanpreet Singh and a front seat passenger survived the crash with minor injuries.
Jovanpreet Singh, 23, was charged with three counts of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death, dangerous operation causing bodily harm, three counts of criminal negligence causing death, criminal negligence causing bodily harm, and obstructing a police officer.
Sehajpreet Singh was arrested more than five months later following the discovery of the audio file.
Crown attorney Melanie Nancekievill acknowledged that Sehajpreet Singh did not play a literal physical role in the deadly crash, but that driving double the speed limit in a rural area on a rainy night amounted to careless driving.
Defense lawyer Tyler MacDonald says we should not expect any repeat behavior from his client.
“The whole process has been a huge eye opener… He saw firsthand what can happen when someone goes much too fast and loses control of a vehicle,” says MacDonald.
“The shock of all of that, he’s told me he’s done everything that’s necessary to make him not even think of driving at excessive speeds again,” MacDonald says.
Justice Krista Leszczynski was satisfied Singh has learned his lesson.
“I accept the positions… that based on what you observed and what ultimately occurred on that date, that will drive home the message to you not to engage in this type of careless driving ever again in your life,” she says.
“Obviously you are very lucky, as is your wife, that you were not involved in a collision as a result of the excessive speed that you were driving on that particular night. I trust that that will not occur again – correct?” says Leszczynski.
“It will never happen again,” Singh responded.
Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Independent