‘An inevitable accident’: Lawyer argues woman who struck Saanich girl in crosswalk couldn’t see her

WatchThe trial for a young woman accused of dangerous driving after striking an 11-year-old Saanich girl in a crosswalk is wrapping up this week.

It was an unusual morning at the Victoria Law Courts Monday as Judge Mayland Mckimm, the court clerk, defence lawyer Tom Morino, and Crown prosecutor Jess Patterson left the building to go on a road trip.

Travelling in separate cars they were taking the same route driven by Tenessa Nikirk the morning she struck 11-year-old Leila Bui in a Saanich crosswalk nearly two years ago.

Morino had requested the scene visit to show the stretch of Ash Road that leads to the crash scene. In her early 20s, Nikirk is charged with dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

In closing arguments Monday, Morino called the crash an “inevitable accident.” He told the courts that Nikirk’s reaction time was hindered because, as one witness recounted, Bui ran into the crosswalk, and that Nikirk’s view of the child was obscured because a vehicle was stopped on Torquay.

He said “she could not possibly have stopped in time to avoid the collision with Leila”.

Dashcam video from a witness driving on Ash Road that morning showed Nikirk’s black Mercedes SUV overtaking two vehicles, an expert witness estimating her speed at the time of the passing at 95 to 100 km/hour. Morino argues that what the video doesn’t show is Nikirk beginning to decelerate as she headed up the hill on Ash with calculations showing she was only driving about 50 km/hour when she struck Bui in the crosswalk.

READ MORE: Dashcam video captures moments before SUV hits Leila Bui

Crown alleges Nikirk showed a pattern of troubling driving behaviour that morning including tailgating, excessive speeding, and texting behind the wheel.

Bui’s family has been at the trial every day since it began a week ago saying despite the outcome, they want to give their daughter a voice.

“She’s always thinking of others and being there for the people that she loves, and that’s why we’re here, I’m here to support my wife, and I’m also here so that people know who Leila is,” said her father Tuan Bui.

They say while Bui is showing some encouraging signs of improvement, it was a difficult start to the year.

“You don’t know if she’s really struggling to be there for you because you’re asking her to, and I feel selfish sometimes to ask her to stay with us, but I love her so much and I can’t say goodbye to her,” said an emotional Kairry Nguyen, Leila’s mother, outside the courthouse.

Bui will celebrate her 13th birthday surrounded by close friends this week.

The trial is scheduled to run until Thursday.

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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