Guilty verdict in Saanich collision that left 11-year-old girl with brain damage

B.C. woman guilty of dangerous driving in crash that left 11-year old girl with brain damage
WATCH: A Victoria judge has found Tenessa Nikirk guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm in the 2017 crash that left an 11-year old Saanich girl with a severe brain injury. Brad MacLeod reports.

The woman who left an 11-year-old Vancouver Island girl with a severe brain injury in a traffic collision has been found guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

Tenessa Nikirk could be seen dabbing at tears as the judge read the verdict in a Victoria courtroom on Monday.

Leila Bui, the child who was struck at the intersection of Torquay Drive and Ash Road on Dec. 20, 2017, sat in the court in a wheelchair, surrounded by her family.

READ MORE: Video shows vehicle speeding before crash that left Saanich 11-year-old with brain damage

“It doesn’t take away the fact that her carelessness led to our daughter being this way,” said Leila’s mother Kairry of the verdict.

“I hope she reflects on it. That she is truly sorry. That’s all I want to know, that she is truly sorry that she did this to my daughter.”

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Young girl struck in crosswalk in Saanich
Young girl struck in crosswalk in Saanich

Tuan, Leila’s father, said the girl has been left with life-long injuries.

“She has her sleep-wake pattern,” he said, “but she is not responsive. We have to take care of her around the clock.”

Leila was on her way home from school at the time of the collision.

READ MORE: 11-year-old struck by car in Saanich suffers brain damage, requires spinal surgery: Mom

Experts had testified that the vehicle could have been going as fast as 100 km/h. Evidence presented to the court also suggested Nikirk was texting for several minutes prior to the collision.

Several witnesses testified that Leila had looked both ways before entering the crosswalk.

“I am left with no doubt that the accused drove both before the accident and at the time of the accident in a manner that was dangerous to other users of the road,” wrote Judge Mayland McKimm in his reasons for judgment.

READ MORE: Child rushed to hospital with serious injuries after being hit by car in Saanich

“The accused was speeding, not paying adequate attention to clearly visible markers at the crosswalk, the child and the stopped vehicles and was engaged in conversations with other parties by way of a handheld electronic device.”

Evidence presented at trial included dashcam video showing Nikirk’s SUV speeding past several vehicles as it drove through Saanich.

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Before hearing closing arguments in December, Judge McKimm took the unusual step of actually driving Nikirk’s route through the city in order to observe speed limit signs and morning driving conditions.

Nikirk’s next court date is for Feb. 4.