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RSS FeedsShe was paralyzed in a Toronto bike lane by a careless driver. Her family wants to know why he didnīt face stricter penalties under new law
(The Star Travel)


15 november 2019 01:00:09

She was paralyzed in a Toronto bike lane by a careless driver. Her family wants to know why he didnīt face stricter penalties under new law
(The Star Travel)

One October morning last year, Andrew Cawse glanced at the news channel playing on the TV in his office cafeteria, and experienced a flash of worry familiar to any parent. The story on the screen said a cyclist had been struck in Toronto’s east end. The collision looked serious.For an instant, Andrew wondered about his daughter Julia, then 23, who lived in the Beach and rode her bike everywhere.“I hope Julia’s alright,” he remembers thinking, before dismissing the worry as an overreactionBut his fear wasn’t misguided.As Andrew would soon learn, just after 7 a.m. on Oct. 4, 2018, Julia Cawse was run over by a 29-year-old man in a Jeep who drove into the bike lane on Dundas Street East where she was riding.In that instant, the promising future Julia had was permanently derailed. She survived, but suffered catastrophic injuries. The young woman who was once energetic and athletic now lacks full use of her limbs, is cognitively impaired, and requires round-the-clock care. Her parents in turn are facing a lifetime of medical bills they’re not sure how they’ll afford, and must live with the pain of knowing their daughter’s life was violently altered by a stranger’s momentary inattention. The driver lives with different consequences. On Aug. 22, he pleaded guilty to a new non-criminal offence of careless driving causing bodily harm or death, a charge the provincial government introduced to stiffen penalties for drivers in cases such as Julia’s. While the potential penalties include jail time and punitive fines, the driver, who was behind the wheel of his girlfriend’s car at the time, instead had his licence suspended for four years. Experts say it’s a meaningful penalty, but for this driver it was also a familiar one — court records show he had a previous conviction for driving with a suspended licence. Government statistics show many drivers charged under the new offence have faced none of t ...
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