Crown seeks prison time for driver who slammed into Surrey grandfather waiting for bus (with video)

Published: March 27, 2013

Gurjit Dhillon, photographed here at Surrey Provincial Court in Surrey, B.C., Nov. 30, 2012, has since had Pritam Singh Benning’s name tattooed on his forearm. Arlen Redekop/PNG files

JENNIFER SALTMAN
VANCOUVER DESI

The crash that caused Pritam Singh Benning’s death in 2009 didn’t have to happen.
If Gurjit Dhillon had not chosen to accelerate through the intersection of 128th Street and 72nd Avenue and make a quick lane change, he may not have lost control and slammed into the bench where Benning, an 83-year-old great-grandfather, sat waiting for a bus.
“It was avoidable,” Benning’s eldest son, Amarjit, said in a victim-impact statement read in court Wednesday. “This fact is the hardest thing to come to terms with. I’m not sure I ever will.”
In November Dhillon, 28, was found guilty of dangerous driving causing death in connection with Benning’s death. A sentencing hearing was held Wednesday in B.C. Provincial Court in Surrey.
On Sept. 17, 2009 Dhillon was driving his brother’s black Corvette on 128th Street, following a yellow Corvette at speeds up to 80 km/h, when the two came to a stop at the intersection with 72nd Avenue.
When the light turned green, Dhillon accelerated around a Honda Accord in front of him, switched lanes quickly, lost control, and his Corvette clipped the Honda, jumped the curb and smashed into Benning’s bench.
Benning was thrown into the air and his legs were crushed. He was taken to Royal Columbian Hospital, where he died five days later.
“At 83 years of age he should have spent his last years surrounded by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, not lying in ICU with half his body missing,” Amarjit Benning said.
Crown prosecutor Christopher McPherson said there is no explanation for Dhillon’s actions.
“The actions of Mr. Dhillon had a profound effect on many people. This was a senseless and totally avoidable death,” McPherson said.
McPherson asked for a federal prison sentence of 2 1/2 to three years and a 10-year driving prohibition.
Defence lawyer Marvin Stern asked for a suspended sentence, which would include a six- to nine-month period of probation. He asked for a “significant” driving prohibition, but shorter than what was suggested by the Crown.
Stern said Dhillon is extremely remorseful and takes responsibility for causing Benning’s death.
According to psychological reports, Dhillon has suffered from depression and has been unable to work steadily since the crash.
Shortly after the incident, Dhillon got a tattoo on his forearm with Benning’s name, the date of the crash and the phrase, “The day everything changed.”
In court, Dhillon read out a written apology to the Benning family. He said he wanted to approach the family many times since the crash but it was never the right time.
“I want to apologize to the Benning family for their ongoing suffering,” Dhillon said.
Dhillon gave his version of the events of Sept. 17, 2009 and said he has struggled to deal with what happened that day.
“It kills me inside to know that there’s nothing I can do to make things better,” Dhillon said. “Baba Ji’s [Benning’s] death has changed my life. Now I know that anything can happen in a second and it can affect many lives forever.
“This isn’t something that I can just forget about. It’s going to live with me for the rest of my life.”
Judge James Jardine reserved his sentencing decision.

.

jensaltman@theprovince.com
twitter.com/jensaltman


Tags: , , , , ,





Featured

Dr Cabbie

Indo Canadian comedy Dr. Cabbie making its way to the small screen

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI This year’s Indo Canadian box-office hit comedy Dr. Cabbie is making its way to the small screen. Toronto-based Entertainment One, alongside…
Continue Reading »

desi fun food collectibles

Surrey Night Market will be ‘bigger and better’ in 2015, say organizers

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Surrey Night Market is set to return for its second season next spring “bigger and better” than its inaugural year,…
Continue Reading »

Surrey Food Bank-forensics

Surrey woman makes career switch from forensics to food bank

AMY REID SURREY NOW  WHALLEY — With a masters in bioethics and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Feezah Jaffer never imagined her landing spot would…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Dr Cabbie

Indo Canadian comedy Dr. Cabbie making its way to the small screen

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI This year’s Indo Canadian box-office hit comedy Dr. Cabbie is making its way to the small screen. Toronto-based Entertainment One, alongside…
Continue Reading »

desi fun food collectibles

Surrey Night Market will be ‘bigger and better’ in 2015, say organizers

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Surrey Night Market is set to return for its second season next spring “bigger and better” than its inaugural year,…
Continue Reading »

Surrey Food Bank-forensics

Surrey woman makes career switch from forensics to food bank

AMY REID SURREY NOW  WHALLEY — With a masters in bioethics and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Feezah Jaffer never imagined her landing spot would…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Avoiding relapse, inviting happiness over the Holiday Season

NIRMALA RANIGA VANCOUVER DESI The holiday season can be an especially challenging time for individuals in recovery from addictive behaviours. Holiday parties and celebrations with…
Continue Reading »

Miss World

Bikini round removed from Miss World pageant

IANS London – The Miss World contest, which has been an annual feature since 1951, will no longer feature a swimsuit round in their competition,…
Continue Reading »

sexi desi babes

Gallery: Wait for India’s Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2015 is almost over

VANCOUVER DESI The Hunt for the Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2015 is almost over. An Indian lifestyle channel will air the grand finale of the reality…
Continue Reading »

Taliban attack

Pakistani student who skipped school on the day of Taliban rampage ‘isn’t talking to anyone’

VANCOUVER DESI A 15-year-old student of Pakistan’s Army Public School  – which was bombed by the Taliban this week, killing 141 people, of which 132…
Continue Reading »

Sikhs to quit Trudeau's Liberals

Sikhs ‘across Canada’ to jump Trudeau ship

Nominations issue: ‘We are not Liberals, that’s for sure,’ says general secretary of Vancouver temple LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI A large group of Sikhs in…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Gallery: Stars come together for another big fat Bollywood wedding

VANCOUVER DESI After Salman Khan’s sister Arpita Khan’s wedding with businessman Aayush Sharma last month, Bollywood stars gathered for another high-profile Bollywood wedding that turned…
Continue Reading »

BOLLYWOOD

Film Review: Aamir Khan’s PK unconventionally outstanding

TROY REBEIRO IANS Film: “PK”; Cast: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput, Saurabh Shukla, Boman Irani, Parikshat Shahni; Director: Rajkumar Hirani; Rating: *** 1/2…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood jodis-ex lovers

Bollywood’s ex-flames Shahid Kapoor, Kareena to work together in ‘Udta Punjab’?

IANS Mumbai – Actor Shahid Kapoor, who once dated actress Kareena Kapoor, has said that he has never refused to work with the latter and…
Continue Reading »