A teen driver who struck and killed a young brother and sister playing at the edge of their driveway last spring was sentenced to one year in an open custody youth facility on Monday.
The driver, who was 16 at the time of the incident and cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was also sentenced to six months supervision in the community following the one year in open custody.
Monday’s sentence was handed down a little less than a year after the driver lost control of his father’s Mercedes while travelling at a speed of over 100 km/h on Athabasca Drive in Vaughan, according to an agreed statement of facts.
The driver struck a curb and lost control of the vehicle, crashing into the two siblings and a neighbour who was fixing a bike on the driveway at the time.
The siblings were rushed to hospital in critical condition, while the neighbour sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
The four-year-old boy, identified by the family as Jax Chaudhari, died in hospital the same day. His sister, 10-year-old Anaya, was pronounced dead a day later.\
The driver, now 17, pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death in December.
The siblings’ parents, Ketan Chaudhari and Binta Patel, were at the courtroom Monday and expressed their grief in an address following the sentencing.
“The five of us were in our comfort zone [the day of the crash], in our front yard of our home. We were at ease, we felt safe, and unrespecting of the horror that was about to unfold in front of our eyes,” Patel said through tears.
“I have to accept we were completely helpless and vulnerable to the recklessness of a stranger. I have to accept the devastation on my family. And I have to accept the laws that protect the guilty,” Chaudhari said. “I have to carry the guilt and the regret for the rest of my life. I’m angry and devastated and I hate all of these things that I have to accept.”
Ontario’s Minister of Education Stephen Lecce made a statement following the sentencing, saying in part, that he was sending love, prayer, and light to the family.
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