A Quebec City man who’d been urged not to drive by doctors because of his epilepsy has been found guilty on three counts of criminal negligence after fatally hitting a pregnant woman outside a city hospital in 2016.
Jonathan Falardeau-Laroche was on trial for the death of Marie-Pier Gagné, who was struck outside the Laval University Health Centre on Aug. 10, 2016.
Falardeau-Laroche had just come from an appointment with his own neurologist when he struck Gagné, who was 40 weeks pregnant and going to a pre-natal clinic.
Gagné was killed, but doctors delivered her daughter and she survived despite suffering serious injuries. Another driver was also injured.
Quebec court Judge Pierre-L. Rousseau concluded that Falardeau-Laroche’s actions amounted to reckless indifference when he decided to get behind the wheel of his car against the advice of his own doctor and his colleagues.
He was found guilty on three counts — criminal negligence causing the death of Gagné and two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm of the unborn baby and the other driver.
Crown prosecutor Thomas Jacques praised the judge’s decision as he spoke to reporters after the verdict was rendered.
“The judge issued a reminder that driving a motor vehicle is a privilege and not a right,” Jacques said.
“(The accused) made the decision to drive against the advice of his doctor, his colleagues at work … he was aware of the limits of his medical condition,” the prosecutor said, pointing out Falardeau-Laroche had been in another accident on the Pierre Laporte Bridge several months before the fatal crash.
A date will be set for a sentencing hearing on Dec. 3 and a pre-sentence report is due on that day.
Jacques wouldn’t say what sentence he’ll recommend but noted the child who survived suffered major fractures and significant injuries at the time.