Forty-year-old Kugatheesh Rasaratnam has been found not guilty of dangerous driving causing death, after a crash that killed motorcyclist Svetlana Koretskaia on the Bayview Extension nearly two years ago.
Koretskaia, 35, was riding northbound alongside her brother-in-law Gus Diamantopolous on July 8, 2017 when a car suddenly appeared in front of them and made a U-turn.
The driver was coming off the exit ramp from the southbound Don Valley Parkway onto a busy road.
Koretskaia collided with Rasaratnam’s car, became trapped and later died.
Justice P. Andras Schreck, who presided over the judge alone trial over three days in May, wrote in his reasons for judgment that the issue at hand was whether Rasaratnam’s driving constituted a marked departure from the standard of care of a reasonably prudent driver.
Shreck believed Rasaratnam’s girlfriend, who testified that Rasaratnam stopped, looked both ways and did not see any traffic coming from either direction at the time and decided to proceed.
Shreck accepted her evidence.
“There was no evidence that the driving leading up to the decision to make a U-turn was other than normal and prudent. While Rasaratnam’s driving was a departure from the applicable standard of care, I am not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt it was markedly so,” Shreck explained.
The family of Svetlana Koretskaia is shocked by the verdict.
Svetlana was her identical twin sister and says her mother, who lives in Russia, is struggling with news of the not-guilty verdict.
“We all see him as guilty, as causing great amount of grief in our lives. If he wasn’t there, she would still be with us. She was minding her own business, driving on the street, carefully as always and if that driver was not there, she would still be with us.”
Diamantopolous says he can’t describe his emotions. “I’m at a loss for words. I think that the actions of the driver in this case shows that the slightest indiscretion can lead to catastrophic circumstances and that driving is a privilege that can’t be abused in that way.”