Two years after 26-year-old Adam Excell was killed on his bicycle in midtown Toronto, 21-year-old Mitchell Irwin has been sentenced to over four years in prison after pleading guilty to dangerous driving causing death, leaving the scene of an accident causing death and breach of probation.
Irwin, a Keswick, Ont. resident, appeared in court Monday where he received a prison sentence of four years and 14 days. He was also given a six-year additional driving prohibition.
The sentence comes after he appeared in court Friday to plead guilty to multiple charges.
The incident happened just before 11:30 p.m. on June 13, 2015, as Excell was riding home after a family function. His family said outside court he was an outdoor enthusiast who cared about the environment and had recently moved to Toronto from Nova Scotia to work at Patagonia.
“It was just the beginning of bike to work week, so he had parked his car,” his cousin Sarah Hodgson previously said.
According to the agreed statement of facts read out in court Friday, Excell was riding southbound on Avenue Road and had stopped in the intersection waiting to turn eastbound on Davenport Road. As the traffic light turned yellow and northbound vehicles in lanes one and three came to a stop, Irwin made an abrupt lane change into lane two at a high rate of speed and struck Excell.
The cyclist was thrown some distance and suffered major head trauma. He was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
“Adam followed the rules, he was wearing a helmet. He obeyed the laws of the road,” Hodgson said Friday.
The Hyundai Irwin was driving had significant front end damage and the windshield was shattered. Numerous witnesses called 911 as the driver of the car left the scene and reported seeing it driving northbound on Avenue Road.
One witness reported seeing the vehicle turning into Havergal College where it stopped once on campus. Video surveillance obtained by police shows a passenger getting out, removing a case of beer, getting back in the car and leaving.
The next day at 12:25 p.m., after police put out a public appeal for anyone who had seen the car or the driver, Irwin turned himself into York Regional Police and admitted he was the driver. He told officers he was downtown with friends and that he was the designated driver for the night.
Police estimated the car was going 87 km/h at the time of the crash. The speed limit along Avenue Road is 50 km/h.
“It’s your worst nightmare. You don’t believe it’s true you hear about it happening to other people and not in your wildest dreams so you think it would happen to you or your family,” Excell’s cousin Ashlie Ferguson said outside court Friday.
“Everyone’s in a rush to be somewhere. Just slow down, be cautious,” Hodgson, who delivered a victim impact statement after Irwin pleaded guilty, said.
With files from Nick Westoll and Alana MacLeod