Edmonton Journal – Guilty Plea

This news article was posted to the online edition of the Edmonton Journal on June 11, 2012. You can read it there by following this link. I am republishing it here in case the Edmonton Journal subsequently removes the content. I believe doing so constitutes fair use as this entire blog is dedicated to commentary on the event described in the article.

Bus driver ‘totally devastated’ over pedestrian’s death, court told


EDMONTON – A bus driver who struck and killed a 28-year-old city worker in April 2010 pleaded guilty Monday to failure to yield.

Bruce Perrin, 52, occasionally sobbed as court heard arguments about factors in the accident and sentencing possibilities under the Traffic Safety Act violation.

Barinder Pannu, Perrin’s lawyer, talked about glare coming from buildings, and his client’s otherwise clean driving record, when arguing for a $1,000 fine and waiving of a discriminatory three-month licence suspension.

“Nobody minimizes the tragedy,” Pannu said. “This is purely accidental.”

Crown counsel Julie Snowdon said that “anything less than the maximum prohibition and maximum fine is simply not enough.”

On April 20, 2011, the 15-year bus driver was driving the Route 1 bus just before 6:50 a.m. when he turned left from 102A Avenue into the southbound lane of 97th Street, a marked intersection just south of the Edmonton Law Courts building. He hit Ailish O’Connor, who was on her way to work as the city’s strategic planning director in the office of the chief financial officer.

Fire crews had to free her from under the bus. O’Connor was transferred to the Royal Alexandra Hospital, where she was declared dead.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Perrin had taken a prescribed dose of OxyContin that morning as a pain medication, but police did not believe the medication impaired his driving ability.

Perrin is no longer a bus driver and has battled depression, insomnia, and nightmares. He told Pannu he wishes he had died rather than O’Connor. He turned down offers to drive school buses.

“He is so paralyzed by this experience, he doesn’t remember what happened,” Pannu said. “He is basically totally devastated. He is mentally totally shattered.”

Sentencing is expected Thursday afternoon.

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