Investigators were on the scene of a fatal collision on Nov. 4, 2018 in Surrey that killed Sarah Dhillon of Abbotsford. Passenger Paige Nagata died two weeks later. (Shane MacKichan photo)

Surrey man gets 20-month sentence in high speed crash that killed two

Sarah Dhillon, 50, and Paige Nagata, 19, died and Olivia Kilian, 22, was badly injured

A Surrey driver who killed two women and badly injured a third when he lost control of his Jeep Cherokee at 167 km/h and smashed head-on into their car was sentenced to 20 months in provincial prison Thursday in Surrey provincial court.

Nicolas Karvouniaris, 26, already had a lengthy record for bad driving when the fatal Nov. 4, 2018 crash happened on 88th Avenue during a rain storm.

Judge Patricia Stark also sentenced Karvouniaris to three years’ probation and prohibited him from driving for five years. He pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving causing death and one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm in May.

Sarah Dhillon, 50, and Paige Nagata, 19, both of Abbotsford, died as a result of their injuries in the crash. Olivia Kilian, 22, was injured.

Stark said it’s evident Karvouniaris is “deeply remorseful” for the fatal crash and wants to educate young drivers on the perils of dangerous driving. She noted that a psychologist considers him to be a “low risk” to re-offend.

Stark noted that the maximum sentence in Canada for dangerous driving causing death is 14 years in prison and 10 years for dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

More than 100 people attended his sentencing hearing in late August, hearing heart-rending victim impact statements.

Crown prosecutor Winston Sayson argued for 22 to 24 months prison, less a day, to be served concurrent on all three counts, followed by 18 to 24 months probation. Defence lawyer Marvin Stern argued for a sentence of one year to 15 months.

Dhillon was killed immediately by multiple and catastrophic blunt force injuries. Nagata died later in hospital, of blunt force injuries. Survivor Olivia Kilian suffered a shattered spleen, liver and brain damage. Karvouniaris was left with small scrapes and redness on his right wrist.

After the sentencing Thursday, Dhillon’s father Troy Demmitt told reporters his family had gone through “the exercises of a legal system, I’m not entirely sure they were the exercises of a justice system when you think about fitting any kind of punishment to a crime which was committed.

“It wasn’t an intentional crime, it wasn’t premeditated or anything like that, but as the judge said fairly recently, when you make a decision to drive a car,” he said, “you have a responsibility. You take on an agreed idea that you’re going to drive according to the laws of the land, the laws of the province.”

“There was a conscious decision to do something that was going to create havoc, and basically, murder.”

homelessphoto

Sarah Dhillon, 50

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Paige Nagata, 19

The crash happened at 88th Avenue, near 134th Street, where the posted speed limit is 50 km/h. Karvouniaris’ Jeep Cherokee, during extremely heavy rain conditions, leapt a centre median and smashed head-on into Dhillon’s Ford Escape. The posted speed limited there is 50 km/h.

Sarah Dhillon’s husband Paul Dhillon, an Abbotsford Police officer, was asked by a reporter what he thought of the sentence. He asked her what she would think of it, if the table was turned.

According to court records, prior to this fatal crash Karvouniaris had a lengthy list of traffic violation charges for speeding in a playground in Surrey; speeding in Vancouver, Whistler and Langley; driving while using an electronic device in Vancouver; entering an intersection on a red light in Vancouver; and violating a restriction on his driver’s licence in Surrey.

“The question that screams to be answered is how many times does the accused need to be told to stop speeding,” Crown prosecutor Winston Sayson said during the sentencing hearing in August.

On Thursday, Stark found Karvouniaris, who was born and raised in Surrey, has a profound sense of “remorse, grief and shame” and noted he is facing “significant consequences” through civil litigation as a result of the crash.

“I view him as a youthful first offender,” she told the packed courtroom.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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