Man released on $52K bail for QEW chain reaction crash that killed 22-year-old woman

A 32-year-old man charged in connection with "an absolutely horrific crash" in Mississauga, which killed a 22-year-old woman, was released on $52,000 bail Thursday afternoon.

Yasir Baig, 32, turned himself in to police late Wednesday evening

Police allege that the crash was initiated by Baig when he moved into the fast lane and intentionally slowed down suddenly, causing a chain reaction of collisions behind him. (Sgt Kerry Schmidt/OPP)

A 32-year-old man charged in connection with "an absolutely horrific crash" in Mississauga, which killed a 22-year-old woman, was released on $52,000 bail Thursday afternoon. 

Yasir Baig of Mississauga turned himself in to police late Wednesday evening. He faces four charges:

  • Dangerous driving causing death.
  • Dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
  • Failure to remain at the scene of a collision causing death.
  • Failure to remain at the scene of a collision causing bodily harm.

​The Jan. 27 crash on the QEW east of Cawthra Road claimed the life of Nicole Turcotte and left a 19-year-old woman in critical condition. Five others were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Brandy Sommer Wood said she was 'so angry' after the bail hearing. (CBC)

​Turcotte's cousin Brandy Sommer Wood said she was "so angry" after Thursday's bail hearing. 

"I know that's part of grieving," she said. "I wanted [Baig] to look at me just for a moment." 

Sommer Wood said hearing Turcotte's name in court made it "that much more real." 

"I just can't imagine how this is going to get any better," Sommer Wood said. "He's getting to go home." 

Public helped identify vehicle

In the days following the collision, police said six vehicles were involved and that it appeared to have been caused by an incident of road rage on the part of one of the drivers. 

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said at the time that the driver in question is believed to have switched from the middle eastbound lane into the left lane before suddenly slowing down "for an unknown reason."

That created a cascading effect, causing four vehicles behind the car to slam into one another, and a pickup truck behind them to hit the Toyota in which Turcotte was a passenger. 

The driver of the lead vehicle then sped off and exited at the West Mall. Schmidt said tips from the public helped identify the vehicle and its driver.
The man who police say initiated the fatal crash appeared in a Brampton court for a bail hearing on Thursday. (CBC)

'It only takes a moment of stupidity to lose a life'

Turcotte was driving back to Toronto, where she was a photography student at Humber College, with her boyfriend and a friend when the collision occurred. 

Speaking to reporters, Sommer Wood said her death has "affected so many communities.

"She just did so much in such a short term in her life. She was loved and she made an impact in 22 years that most people don't make in 50 or 100 years," Sommer Wood said. 

Nicole Turcotte, 22, was in her last semester at Humber College, where she was studying photography. (Nicole Turcotte/Facebook)

"She could have done so much more with her life ... Now she's gone and my aunt is beside herself with grief."

Sommer Wood first learned of the crash from Turcotte's mother, who called her on Jan. 28 to tell her that Turcotte was on life support at St. Michael's Hospital and would not survive much longer. Sommer Wood said Turcotte and her mother were "best friends."

Sommer Wood thanked witnesses who spoke to police and members of the public who called in with tips to help identify the driver. She added that she hopes the charges will serve as a reminder to other drivers that "it only takes a moment of stupidity to lose a life.

"This is a tragedy that could have been avoided had someone been more thoughtful and careful on the roads."