Nova Scotia

Plea deal with license suspension for crashed Maserati driver

The driver of a luxury car involved in a serious crash last year had his license suspended in court on Monday but the more serious charges of impaired and dangerous driving were dropped.

Impaired and dangerous driving charges dropped in return for lesser charge

Ernie MacInnis, the man who was hit by Brandon van Zyl driving the Maserati, said he is disappointed with the result of the criminal case. (Courtesy of Mike Smeltzer)

The driver of a luxury car involved in a serious crash last year had his license suspended in court on Monday but the more serious charges of impaired and dangerous driving were dropped.

Brandon van Zyl of Pictou County was driving his Maserati Oct. 17 when it hit a truck driven by Ernie MacInnis. The truck was flipped onto its side and MacInnis was taken to hospital. The $130,000 Maserati Quattroporte spun across the road and ended up on a lawn.

Mr. van Zyl was given a breathalyzer test following the crash and was charged with failing it but prosecutors had issues about how the test was taken. The Crown said the decision to drop the more serious charges was made because prosecutors weren't convinced there was enough evidence for a conviction.

MacInnis said on the morning of the crash, the weather was clear and dry. 

"I saw this car come sliding out from behind another one. He was going so fast I thought he must have been chased by the police or something, but he just kept coming and he lost control," he said. "He never hit his brakes, went sideways, fishtailed a couple of times and slammed right into me."

MacInnis' truck was lifted into the air and smashed into a telephone poll. He said van Zyl and his Maserati were notorious in the New Glasgow neighbourhood. He said a lot people had complained, saying the car was too loud and too fast.

On Monday, van Zyl pleaded guilty to driving in a careless and imprudent manner and the other charges were dropped.

Mr. van Zyl, an associate professor of physics at St. Francis Xavier University, was fined $1,000 plus $150 in court costs and lost his license for a period of six months.

MacInnis said he’s disappointed van Zyl got such a "good deal" and didn’t have to face the more serious charges.

"When this originally happened, they were only going to charge him with drinking and driving and I had to actually protest to have them add the dangerous driving charge because the biggest thing for me was I wanted him to face the music."

"The investigation, basically, was pointless," he said.

"I was very disappointed. Anyone whose the victim of a crime and the criminal is caught red-handed with tons of witnesses and pictures and everything else, expects some sort of justice."

He said he is still undergoing physiotherapy for the injuries he suffered during the crash.

MacInnis said he is pursuing a civil lawsuit against van Zyl. His comments and claims have not been proven in court.

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