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Car accidents: Ontario woman loses appeal

A woman who was found guilty of dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm has lost her conviction appeal, according to sources in London. The Ontario woman was found guilty in 2015 after the accident that killed two children and injured their mother and sister. The woman since appealed the decision, but her appeal has been overturned by the court. Such appeals are not unheard of when car accidents result in criminal convictions, nor is it uncommon for family members to pursue additional legal recourse, even in the case of a guilty verdict. 

According to the initial court records, the woman reportedly lost control of her vehicle while backing out of a parking space, causing her car to accelerate into a store front. The resulting collision killed a 6-year-old girl and her infant sister. The children's mother and their other sister were both badly hurt. The woman was charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing death, and two counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. She was found guilty and sentenced to community service, a driving ban and probation. 

The woman appealed the court's decision, arguing that her foot became stuck under a pedal. However, the appeal court determined that, in the five seconds it took for the impact to take place, the woman could have taken other steps to avoid the crash. Her appeal was overturned and her convictions stand. 

In fatal car accidents, Ontario law allows the family of the deceased victims to file civil lawsuits against the driver or drivers who materially contributed to the crash. In this case, the family could also sue for personal injury for the damages suffered by the mother and surviving child. While a criminal conviction is not a requirement for the success of a civil suit, a guilty verdict may be taken into consideration by the civil court.

Source: Global News, "London woman loses appeal of guilty conviction in fatal Costco crash", Jacquelyn Lebel, Feb. 8, 2017

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