A Toronto man has been sentenced to five years and nine months in jail after he pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing the death of a York University Glendon Campus scholarship winner in summer 2018.
Seyed Yashar Tolouei spent Friday in a Newmarket courthouse listening to victim impact statements from family and friends of the 21-year-old victim, Julia Baciu.
Tolouei was driving his Toyota Camry southbound on Bayview Avenue, north of Elgin Mills Road, on Aug. 19, 2018, at around 9:30 p.m. when the Camry collided with the Chevrolet Cruz Baciu was a passenger in.
Court heard that Tolouei was driving almost three times the speed limit.
Baciu was pronounced dead at the scene. Her boyfriend, who was driving the Cruz, was also seriously injured, as was Tolouei’s girlfriend, who was a passenger in his car.
Loved ones of Baciu spoke about what they said was a lack of remorse on Tolouei’s behalf.
Baciu’s best friend, Jen Kesner, took the stand and called Tolouei’s demeanour throughout the trial “disgusting.”
“He was smirking while we read our statements,” she told Global News.
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Kesner added that while out on bail, Tolouei has been posting pictures in front of the courthouse and smiling while skydiving — all just days before he was sentenced.
“It’s hard to see him really not care about taking someone away that is important to so many people,” Kesner said.
At the time of the fatal collision, York Regional Police Const. Andy Pattenden said, “One of the cars nearly split in half as a result of the crash. Speed was definitely a factor, but the major factor involved here (was) alcohol.”
Once he was released on bail the following day, Tolouei returned to the scene of the crash where he told Global News on camera that he refused a breath sample because he had nothing to prove. He also denied he was drunk.
In court, Tolouei’s lawyer said, “I think we have an individual who has experienced extreme abuse as a child. It makes people create defence mechanisms…like many abused people, they shout from the rooftops, ‘I didn’t do it.’”
WATCH: Family of victim of impaired driving crash watch suspect speak to Global News
Tolouei will serve five years and nine months minus three months in prison. He will also face an eight-year driving ban when he is released.
As a permanent resident, he will also likely face immigration repercussions, which means as a result of this conviction, he could face deportation back to Iran.
Baciu was awarded an entrance scholarship to York University Glendon campus and was on course to complete a Bachelor of Arts combined with an Education Degree, majoring in French and Spanish. She could speak five languages and was hoping to become a French teacher.
Her family has now set up a memorial scholarship in her name, which will disburse $1,000 each year to help pay for one Glendon campus language student’s tuition.
—With files from Catherine McDonald and Jessica Patton