A Surrey woman has received house arrest and a three-year driving ban for a head-on impaired-driving crash in Abbotsford in which she hit speeds of 197 km/h.
Anureet Dosanjh, 24, was sentenced Thursday (Jan. 19) in Abbotsford provincial court after previously pleading guilty to two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. She initially faced nine charges, but the other seven charges were stayed.
Judge David Silverman sentenced Dosanjh to a conditional sentence order (house arrest) of two years less a day.
The crash occurred May 24, 2021 at around 8:15 p.m. in the area of Whatcom Road and North Parallel Road in Abbotsford.
An agreed statement of facts between the Crown and defence lawyers was read in court by Crown counsel Rob Macgowan.
He said that on the day of the crash, Dosanjh was picked up in Surrey by her good friend, RB, in a Honda Civic owned by RB’s dad. (The Abbotsford News is using only her initials to protect her identity.)
The two women went to an Abbotsford brewhouse, where they both ordered food and a flight of beer.
The pair then drove to a local restaurant, where Dosanjh had five alcoholic drinks and RB had four. As they were leaving, RB said she was too intoxicated to drive, and Dosanjh got behind the wheel.
The pair then travelled to a cannabis dispensary off of North Parallel Road, where RB purchased and consumed marijuana.
Macgowan said, on the way to the dispensary, a photo was taken – and posted to Dosanjh’s Snapchat account – of the dash of the vehicle, showing she had reached a speed of 197 km/h.
Meanwhile, a couple driving a Volkswagen Jetta had stopped at the Tim Hortons location at Whatcom and North Parallel with their two young daughters – ages seven months and six years – in the vehicle.
Macgowan said, as the family was driving away, they turned eastbound off Whatcom onto North Parallel Road, and the westbound Civic being driven by Dosanjh crossed into their lane and smashed into them head-on.
Macgowan said analysis of the crash by investigators determined that Dosanjh was travelling at a speed of between 197 and 199 km/h five seconds before the crash. She hit the brakes three seconds before the collision, and the speed at impact was 134 km/h.
“Frankly, from having seen the video … it’s a matter of pure fortune that everyone survived this collision,” Macgowan said.
The two children were not injured in the crash, but all four adults suffered injuries, the most extreme being to the two passengers.
Macgowan said RB was airlifted to hospital, and she required surgery for injuries that included heart, abdominal and bladder damage; spinal, clavicle and hand fractures; and traumatic brain injury.
The woman in the other vehicle required surgery for injuries that included pelvic and ankle fractures and broken ribs.
The male driver also had “acute fractures,” Macgowan said.
Dosanjh also required surgery for a bleeding spleen and a fractured wrist. Her right knee and ankle were also injured, and she requires a knee brace to stand for extended periods.
Macgowan said the victims have also suffered “significant psychological impact” from the collision and the aftermath. RB and Dosanjh are no longer friends, he said.
Defence lawyer Don Muldoon said Dosanjh, who currently works as a care aide and plans to become a registered nurse, accepts responsibility for her actions and the damage she has caused.
“She deeply regrets that conduct. She’s extremely remorseful. She’s guilt-ridden and ashamed,” he said.
Muldoon said Dosanjh suffers from significant mental-health issues that include depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder for which she has been in counselling. She declined to provide a statement in court.
“It’s not because she’s indifferent to the proceedings. She’s a bit overwhelmed and traumatized,” Muldoon said.
In sentencing Dosanjh, Judge Silverman took into account her guilty plea early in the case, sparing the victims from the trauma of having to testify, and that she is a first-time offender who has strong family support and wants “to contribute meaningfully to the community.”
But he said he also had to consider the aggravating circumstances in the case.
“I’m not often at a loss for words, but I can say it was utterly shocking to see the high rate of speed that the Civic was travelling at when it collided with the (other) vehicle … It is truly remarkable that nobody died,” Silverman said.
The first four months of Dosanjh’s conditional sentence will be full house arrest, other than a four-hour period on Sundays to tend to “personal needs.”
For the next six months after that, she will have a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. In months 10 to 16, her curfew will be from midnight to 6 a.m. She will have no curfew for the rest of her sentence, but will be under court-ordered conditions.
Her three-year driving ban is effective immediately, and Dosanjh must also complete 50 hours of community service.