Dilpreet Sandhu, 20, has been sentenced to 21 months in jail for a May 18, 2019 traffic crash that killed Brandon Bassi, 19, of North Delta and left his own cousin in a vegetative state.
The sentencing hearing was in Surrey provincial court on Tuesday, Oct. 12. Judge Mark Jetté noted the “ripple effects” of Sandhu’s “recklessness and risk-taking” extends well beyond the victims themselves.
He added that the criminal justice system is not equipped to put “shattered” lives together again.
“Their friends, family and others in the wider community whose lives will never be the same,” Jetté told the gallery and those in an overflow courtroom. “I include in that category Mr. Sandhu’s close family and friends as well as Mr. Sandhu himself, who must somehow learn to live with the terrible consequences of his conduct.”
Bassi was a prospect for the Vancouver Whitecaps and a National Collegiate Athletic Association soccer player for Simon Fraser University.
He was one of four passengers who were transported to hospital after the Jeep was destroyed in a late-night crash at 122 Street and 78 Avenue in Newton. Six people were in the Jeep.
Sandhu pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death, failing to stop at the scene of a crash that caused death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm, and failing to stop at the scene of a crash causing bodily harm. He was not held in custody.
He was driving his dad’s black 2018 Grand Cherokee and was taking five young people from a party bus to another party. Jetté said Sandhu had been driving with restrictions that allowed him to carry one more passenger, unless it was a family member, and the Jeep had five seatbelts but there were six people aboard.
The judge noted Sandhu drove at a “very high speed” while permitting an intoxicated 14-year-old girl to stand on her seat and “hang out the window while shouting at passers-by.”
The court heard he was driving in a residential neighbourhood at a speed up to 153 km/h and hit a boulder on the road.
“That contact tripped the vehicle into a tumble,” the judge noted.
Sandhu and a passenger who suffered minor injuries left the crash scene and Sandhu surrendered himself to the RCMP later that day.
Bassi and two others, age 20 and 17, were thrown clear from the Jeep. Bassi was removed from life support and pronounced dead five days later.
The Crown argued for a federal penitentiary term of two to three years, or two years less a day in provincial jail plus two years probation, as well as a five-year driving prohibition. The defence argued for an 18-month sentence and a three-year driving prohibition.
Besides 21 months in jail, Sandhu was also sentenced to two years of probation, 50 hours of community work service and a three-year driving prohibition. He was 18 at the time of the crash. He had four prior driving offences, including speeding and failing to display his N, and two offences of driving contrary to restrictions, committed two months before the fatal crash.
Sandhu works at a family business in Cloverdale and is halfway through a social workers program at Vancouver Career College and hopes to be certified as a social worker, the court heard. Jetté said Sandhu’s family home was shot at in the weeks following the crash.
“He feels isolated and lonely, and is consumed by guilt.”
A psychologist told the court Sandhu’s actions on the day of the crash were likely due to immaturity and attention seeking.
The judge noted that Bassi was described as an “outgoing and accomplished young man who has so much more to give.
“It is clear that Brandon Bassi’s family and friends continue to struggle with the pain of his loss,” Jetté said.
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