Edmonton Journal – Sentencing

This news article was posted to the online edition of the Edmonton Journal on June 14, 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 fined $2,000 in pedestrian death

A former city bus driver has been given a $2,000 fine and three-month licence suspension for “a momentary lapse of attention” that killed a pedestrian in April 2011.Bruce Perrin, 52, pleaded guilty to failing to yield to a pedestrian, a charge under the Traffic Safety Act, earlier this week. On Thursday, Provincial Court Judge Shelagh Creagh handed Perrin the maximum fine.

At 6:45 a.m. on April 20, 2011, Perrin turned his Edmonton Transit Service bus left from 102A Avenue onto 97th Street and struck Ailish O’Connor in a crosswalk. O’Connor, 28, was on her way to work as the city’s strategic planning director in the office of the chief financial officer. Firefighters had to free her from under the bus and she died hours later at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

“This momentary lapse of attention caused a death, there is no other way around that,” Creagh said. “Four other people on that bus saw Ailish crossing the street. Why Mr. Perrin did not is inexplicable.”

Before the accident, Perrin was a bus driver of 30 years with a clean driving record. He has since quit his job and turned down subsequent offers to drive a school bus, court heard. In the year since the accident, he has battled depression, insomnia and anxiety, according to a letter from his psychologist submitted to court.

In court on Thursday, Perrin wept throughout the proceedings.

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 that impaired his driving ability. His supervisor knew of his medication.

Court has heard Perrin remembers nothing of the moments leading up to the collision.

Creagh considered it an aggravating factor that Perrin was a professional driver, trained to navigate Edmonton’s roads safely.

In the front row of court, O’Connor’s husband Christopher Thompson cried quietly. The couple had been married less than a year at the time of the accident.

“Her death has destroyed my world,” Thompson told court Monday. “From early in our relationship, Ailish and I went on dates every Friday evening. Now I just go to bed and hope for sleep. I cry all the time. I cannot focus on my work. I feel confused and utterly alone.”

On his way out of court on Thursday, Thompson said: “I loved Ailish a lot, with all my heart.”

Creagh acknowledged to court that a fine could not compensate family and friends for O’Connor’s death.

“I am not sentencing Mr. Perrin for the death of Ailish, but for failing to yield for a pedestrian,’ she said. “No matter what point of view one looks at this from, this is a tragedy.”

Monique Pablo
June 16th, 2012 11:36 AM

This makes me very very sad. I am sorry for your pain, Chris. I am thinking of you.

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