British Columbia

Drivers fined $1,600 each for their roles in death of 14-year-old Brazilian exchange student

Two men found guilty of driving without due care and attention in the 2018 death of a 14-year-old Brazilian exchange student were sentenced in a Vancouver provincial courtroom last week.

Fernanda Girotto, 14, died after being hit twice in a crosswalk in Burnaby, B.C., in 2018

A memorial was created on Cariboo Road in Burnaby, B.C., for international student Fernanda Girotto after she died on Jan. 17, 2018. (CBC)

The two men found guilty of driving without due care and attention in the 2018 death of a 14-year-old Brazilian exchange student were sentenced in a Vancouver provincial courtroom last week.

Paul Oliver Wong and Kai Man Cheu were fined $1,600 each under section 144 of the Motor Vehicle Act.

Both will also have to pay a victim surcharge of $240 each for their roles in Fernanda Girotto's death on Jan. 17, 2018.

Wong and Cheu each hit Girotto as she crossed Cariboo Road near the Highway 1 overpass just after 7 a.m. PT that day.

The teenager died at the scene.

The City of Burnaby installed a pedestrian-controlled traffic signal at this crosswalk on Cariboo Road after a number of incidents, including the death of Fernanda Girotto. (Mike Zimmer/CBC News)

The student was first hit by a pickup truck driven by Wong.

He got out of his truck and turned on his hazard lights, but Girotto was hit again when a second vehicle driven by Cheu went around Wong's truck.

Court heard Girotto likely died as a result of the second impact.

Neither Wong nor Cheu was criminally charged and impairment was not believed to be a factor. Both pleaded not guilty.

During a hearing, Wong said he had been driving carefully but didn't see Girotto until it was too late. It was dark and raining at the time of the crash.

In delivering his verdict, Judge David St. Pierre said the case was a "tragedy" for all involved.

Both the Crown and defence agreed the men should be fined, but the defence argued against a driving prohibition at a later sentencing hearing. 

With files from Deborah Goble

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