MANDEL: Teenage Mercedes driver admits to running down two kids

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The baby-faced driver wiped away tears after pleading guilty to running down two children and their neighbour when he lost control of his father’s Mercedes while speeding over 100 km/h on a residential street.

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There had been no time for his victims to get out of the way.

It was around noon on May 16, 2021 and the 16-year-old — his name protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act — was roaring toward his girlfriend’s house on Athabasca Dr. in Vaughan when he came to a bend in the road he could only have negotiated if he’d been going 20 km/h slower.

He lost control, crossed to the opposite side of the road, travelled across a front lawn, smashed down a tree, ripped through a hedge and then mowed down Anaya Chaudhari, 10, and her brother Jax, 4, as they stood playing on their driveway.

Neighbour John Chiarelli, who was helping the children fix a bike chain, was badly injured.

The Mercedes continued on to the next lawn, hitting an electrical transformer and retaining wall before finally coming to a stop.

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According to the agreed statement facts read over Zoom by Crown attorney Sean Doyle, the teen made three different statements to explain the horrific collision: he said the car had locked up and he couldn’t steer it; he said he’d dropped his wallet and was reaching for it when he lost control; and in a final utterance, he said something was wrong with the brakes, and he didn’t  know how this happened.

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Doyle told Ontario Superior Court Justice David Rose that a mechanical examination of the 2017 black Mercedes sedan found nothing was wrong.

Jax died hours later; his sister, the following day. The cause of death for both children was multiple blunt force trauma.

Chiarelli, 60, suffered severe lacerations to his arm and a broken knee that required surgery. He can’t move his knee without pain and might need a knee replacement, Doyle said.

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As the stark details were read out, the teenage driver repeatedly wiped at his eyes, as well he should.

The Newmarket judge went through a plea inquiry, ensuring the boy understood the ramifications of pleading guilty to two counts of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death and dangerous operation causing bodily harm: He was told he’ll have a youth record that could affect his immigration status and his ability to travel or get a job. Any sentence would also include a suspension of his licence for a period of time.

To every potential impediment to his future, the teen leaned toward the computer screen in his lawyer’s office and softly replied, “Yes, Your Honour.”

For the parents of his victims, the punishment is much harsher, of course. The private family issued a heartbreaking statement last month to mark the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims.

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“Please, please remind yourselves and your kids to be mindful of how you are driving. The decisions you make on the road have real-life consequences,” they said. “Our family is broken, devastated. We want to wake up from this nightmare, and we can’t. Everyday, we see and hear about careless, dangerous driving all around us … it just doesn’t stop.”

Court heard the new driver had never pressed on his brakes before losing control and the accelerator had been fully — or nearly fully — depressed until a half-second before the Mercedes mounted the curb. According to the Technical Collision Investigation Report, the car was travelling at 102 km/h during the 13 metres to 27 meters before leaving the roadway.

He was going more than 2 1/2 times the posted 40 km/h limit.

Paying the price of his youthful recklessness was Anaya, remembered by her family as a confident athletic girl who loved art as much as science and fearless Jax who loved to roar like his favourite dinosaur and wanted to grow up to be a Ninja warrior.

Kids killed by a kid allowed to operate a car far too powerful for a novice driver.

The teen, free on $300,000 bail and strict house arrest, will be sentenced next year.

mmandel@postmedia.com

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