Edmonton Sun – Guilty Plea

This news article was posted to the online edition of the Edmonton Sun on June 11, 2012. You can read it there by following this link. I am republishing it here in case the Edmonton Sun 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 guilty in ped death



An Edmonton Transit bus driver who fatally struck a woman who was crossing the street in a marked crosswalk owned up to the “devastating” collision in court Monday.

Bruce Charles Perrin, 53, pleaded guilty in Provincial Court to a charge under the Traffic Safety Act of failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

Both the Crown and defence agreed that while the death was a “devastating” tragedy, it was unintentional on the part of Perrin, but that was little comfort to victim Ailish O’Connor’s crying sister and heartbroken husband.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, Chris Thompson said the death “destroyed” his world and he misses O’Connor with “every ounce” of his being.

“Ailish was an amazing woman, my best friend and my one true love,” wrote Thompson. “I cry all the time. I cannot focus on my work. I feel confused and utterly alone.

“My world is ashen and grey without her,” he said. “I will never again be able to say that everything is right with the universe. Every day was better with Ailish in my life and every day is worse since she left.”

According to agreed facts, Perrin was operating an ETS bus in the downtown area about 6:45 a.m. on April 20, 2011. He was going westbound in the left lane on 102A Avenue when he came to a stop at a red light at 97 Street.

O’Connor, 28, was on her way to work and was standing on the southeast corner of the intersection waiting for the light to turn green. When it did and the walk light illuminated, O’Connor began walking west across 97 Street.

At the same time, Perrin accelerated from the stop line to turn left and began going south on 97 Street. As O’Connor was about halfway across the street, the bus struck her.

The victim was removed from the underside of the bus by firefighters and taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 7:21 a.m.

Four passengers on the bus who witnessed the deadly collision said they all observed O’Connor crossing the street before she was hit.

Perrin told police at the scene he had taken his prescribed Oxycontin pain medication earlier that morning. A field sobriety test was performed and officers did not form the belief that his ability to drive was impaired.

Crown prosecutor Julie Snowdon asked for Perrin to be handed the maximum $2,000 fine and a 90-day driving ban, saying the public needs to know that “even a moment of inattention can lead to devastating consequences.”

Defence lawyer Barinder Pannu told court Perrin had been driving a city bus for 30 years without an incident and suggested a $1,500 fine with no driving ban.

Pannu said Perrin was “so paralyzed” by what happened that he does not recall the exact details. He also said the veteran driver claims he got a glaring effect through his eyeglasses from the sunrise being reflected in a building.

Since the collision, Perrin went through a serious depression, had problems sleeping and was unable to work. He was also feeling suicidal and seeing a psychologist.

“He said to me ‘I wish I were dead rather than the person who died’,” said Pannu.

Perrin apologized in court to the victim’s family.

A sentencing decision is slated for Thursday.

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