British Columbia

Drivers found guilty in collisions that killed Brazilian exchange student

Two drivers who each hit an exchange student in a Burnaby, B.C., crosswalk in 2018 have been found guilty of driving without due care and attention.

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

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)

Two drivers who hit an exchange student in a Burnaby, B.C., crosswalk in 2018 have been found guilty of driving without due care and attention in connection with the teenager's death.

Paul Oliver Wong and Kai Man Cheu were convicted under the Motor Vehicle Act in Vancouver Provincial Court on Thursday. 

Wong and Cheu each hit Fernanda Girotto as she crossed Cariboo Road near the Highway 1 overpass just after 7 a.m. PT on Jan. 17, 2018.

Girotto, 14, died at the scene.

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 student, who was from Brazil, 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 Thursday, Judge David St. Pierre said the case was a "tragedy" for all involved.

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

A date for sentencing will be set on Feb. 10.

With files from Deborah Goble