‘Willfully blind’ driver found guilty in hit-and-run

NEW WESTMINSTER – A Surrey driver who struck and killed a man along a rural stretch of Fraser Highway in 2010 has been found guilty of hit-and-run and being "willfully blind" to the damage he did.

 

Jagjit Singh Basra’s sentencing is set for Sept. 11th. Shamus Travis William MacKay, 19, was killed on Sept. 4, 2010 on Fraser Highway, just east of 168th Street, shortly before 1 a.m. "There is no evidence that Mr. Basra saw or ought to have seen Mr. MacKay before the accident," Justice Frits Verhoeven noted, following a trial in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

 

"Tragically, it appears that Mr. MacKay may have been attempting to commit suicide."

 

The judge found, however, that Basra was "well-aware of the possibility that the accident had involved a collision with a person, but chose not to investigate or inquire, in order to avoid finding out what he did not want to find out. He was willfully blind to the fact that the accident had involved a collision with Mr. MacKay."

 

The court heard Basra was driving a 2008 Volkswagen City Jetta owned by his girlfriend at the time, Parveen K. Bains, who was also in the car.

 

The court heard Bains had chest pains and asked Basra to drive. He didn’t tell Bains his licence was suspended The couple testified they didn’t see what hit the car. They heard a "thud" and saw a large hole in the windshield. Bains was crying and screaming. Both were afraid, thinking someone had thrown a rock through the windshield.

 

Basra said he stopped the car about 300 yards from where the crash happened after his girlfriend said she wanted to drive. It was dark.

 

Basra said he looked back up the road and saw nothing. He said he

 

didn’t want to return to the scene for fear someone had thrown a rock at them. Bains drove away.

 

Moments later, passing motorist Tim Szabo saw eyes reflecting from the ditch, got his friend to stop his car and they pulled MacKay’s body out onto the gravel shoulder. The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to his head. Blood test results revealed MacKay had been heavily intoxicated when he died.

 

Meantime, Bains and Basra continued on, despite heavy damage to the Jetta. She stopped the car in a residential area near 176th Street and 104th Avenue and Basra called a windshield repairman.

 

"Rather than calling the police to report the supposed rock throwing incident, Mr. Basra sought to and obtained the repair of the windshield urgently," Verhoeven noted.

 

During a press conference at the

 

scene, back in 2010, the victim’s mom, Anne MacKay of Surrey, pleaded with the driver to turn him or herself in.

 

"This boy had a heart of gold," she said, clutching her son’s picture. "Every time I see his bus at the corner I’m expecting him to get off."

 

"He was a big guy and wouldn’t hurt a fly," she said. "I keep hearing him knock at the door."

 

Mrs. MacKay said her son was "on his way to help a good friend of his" who was stranded when he died. "It’s really tough."

 

His godfather, Terry Craig, told reporters at the time that MacKay was survived by two brothers, had lived at home, and that his dad had died of leukemia five years prior.

 

"He was just a big kid," he said.

 

"It’s just a shame."

 

tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

 

SEE FULL STORY AT THENOWNEWSPAPER.COM

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