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Caledon man pleads guilty to dangerous driving, not guilty to impaired driving in deadly crash

Click to play video: 'Trial begins in Brampton crash that killed mother and 3 daughters'
Trial begins in Brampton crash that killed mother and 3 daughters
WATCH ABOVE: A Caledon man has pleaded guilty to four charges on day one of his trial for killing a teacher and her 3 daughters. Brady Robertson pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing the death of Karolina Ciasullo and her children but not guilty to impaired driving causing death. Catherine McDonald reports – Jul 12, 2021

Sitting in a suit behind his lawyer on day one of his trial in a Brampton, Ont., courtroom, Brady Robertson pleaded guilty to four counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle that caused the death 36-year-old Caledon teacher Karolina Ciasullo and her three little girls: six-year-old Klara, three-year-old Lilianna and one-year-old Mila Ciasullo.

Robertson also pleaded not guilty to four counts of impaired operation by drugs causing the death of the mother and children and not guilty to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle in relation to a collision that happened just two days earlier caught on video.

According to an agreed statement of facts read out in court, the 21-year-old Caledon man, who had bought the two-door blue Infiniti G35 just 12 days before the deadly collision, had never registered the vehicle and was using a licence plate belonging to his aunt, but only on the back of the sports car.

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Just after noon on June 18, 2020, a Peel police officer observed a blue Infiniti being driven northbound on Bramalea Road in Brampton but noticed it had no front licence plate.

The officer did a U-turn and followed the sedan up Bramalea Road, eastbound on Father Tobin Road, northbound on Sunny Meadow Boulevard and eastbound on Countryside Drive.

Video surveillance shown in court showed the Infiniti being followed by the cruiser through residential neighborhoods at times running stop signs. The Infiniti did not have the capability of recording speed but the cruiser reached a speed of 105 km/h on Countryside Drive.

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As Robertson approached the intersection of Torbram Road and Countryside Drive, the judge-alone trial heard that Robertson had a red light, and saw vehicles stopped in front of him but went around them in the left lane, striking the driver’s side door of the Volkswagen Atlas being driven by Karolina Ciasullo northbound on Torbram Road.

The Infiniti then struck a Honda SUV, before coming to rest parallel to a Ford van in the westbound lanes of Countryside Drive and catching fire.

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Ciasullo’s SUV hit a light pole after the crash, before the light pole fell down. Cellphone video shown at the trial showed the panic in the minutes after the crash, including bystanders trying to help the children, who were without vital signs. All four members of the Ciasullo family were killed.

Analysis of the black box in Ciasullo SUV found that Robertson’s Infiniti was travelling at least 134 km/h at the time of impact. The speed limit on Countryside Drive was 70 km/h.

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Robertson taken to Brampton Civic Hospital before being transferred to St. Mike’s Hospital in downtown Toronto after the crash where his blood was drawn.

It was later seized by police who executed search warrants, and it was found to contain 40 ng of THC/ml of blood, the sedative flubromazolam, and fentanyl. He was arrested in hospital six days later.

Police seized the blue Infiniti at the collision scene and later found a plastic bag with four white pills in the glove box. One was tested and determined to be fentanyl. They also found a baggie with 8.5 grams of a leafy substance in it which was also tested and determined to be cannabis.

The Crown also began calling witnesses. Sandeep Singh told the court that he witnessed a light-skinned driver in a blue Infiniti on June 16, 2020 at the corner of Dougall Avenue and Kennedy Road in Caledon falling asleep at the wheel of his car.

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Singh tried to reach into the Infiniti, which was seen in video surveillance mounting the sidewalk and hitting a planter, but suddenly the driver backs up the sedan before taking off.

Singh called 911 and told them it was a young kid. A number of good Samaritans tried to stop the driver, including police, but the driver was never arrested.

Michael Ciasullo attended court with his sister, sister-in-law and mother by his side.

Across the aisle in the small courtroom sat Robertson’s parents and girlfriend.  Robertson has been in custody since his arrest.

Michael Ciasullo and his family left court without commenting, but a number of friends of Karolina’s spoke about the loss of the devoted wife and mother.

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Michelle Watts said Klara was the flower girl at her wedding and spoke fondly about a little girl who loved her younger siblings.

“To be standing here, hearing some of the things we heard today, it’s not fair. How do you find justice for losing four lives? You don’t,” said Watts.

Longtime friend Michella Sackany called the fact that Robertson pleaded guilty to only four of nine charges disappointing.

“It’s a slap in the face. The family’s been through so much, it’s just dragging it on,” said Sackany outside court.

The trial is scheduled for three stages: nine days in July, nine days in November and three days in December.

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