Trial begins for Caledon man accused in fatal crash that killed Woodbridge mother, son, and friend

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WATCH ABOVE: The trial has begun for a Caledon man on trial for criminal negligence and dangerous driving causing the deaths of a Woodbridge mother, her seven-year-old son and a 12-year-old friend in 2018. As Catherine McDonald reports, the fatal crash has left two families waiting for justice – Oct 18, 2021

Three years after a crash that killed 12-year-old Julia Riccobene, Julia’s friend’s mother 47-year-old Allison Jones and Jones’ seven-year-old son Miles Jones, the criminal negligence and dangerous driving trial for Paul Manzon, the driver of the sports car that collided with Jones’ Kia Sportage, has begun.

Before the judge-alone trial started, Madam Justice Nancy Dennison made a ruling about a video statement given by Manzon on Sept. 24, 2018, roughly seven weeks after the fatal crash. Manzon, who was 45 at the time, attended a Peel Regional Police division to be served with a summons and asked the officer, “Can I call my lawyer while I’m here?”

Dennison ruled that officers had a duty to hold off questioning the detainee, and Manzon should have been given an opportunity to consult with counsel.

“At that point, police should have held off interviewing him for a reasonable period of time, waiting for counsel to call back. Rather police carried on with the interview,” said Dennison, explaining her reasoning for excluding the statement as evidence.

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Read more: Man charged after woman, two children killed in Brampton crash

During that interview, Manzon was asked about the crash repeatedly but refused to accept any responsibility nor showed any remorse. He told the officer he was a single man who never married and lived with his parents.

It was on Aug. 4, 2018, when Allison was attempting to turn eastbound onto Nashville Road off southbound Highway 50 and was struck by the blue Chevrolet Corvette being driven by Manzon in the intersection.

Allison was pronounced dead at the scene while Miles and Riccobene were rushed to the hospital where they died. Jones’ 12-year-old daughter, who was in the front passenger seat, suffered a fractured clavicle and survived. Surveillance video shown in court from a nearby gas station captured the moment of impact from a distance.

Court heard Manzon and his passenger received non-life-threatening injuries. The officer in charge of the investigation, Sgt. Donna Foreman, testified that the roadway was dry, the sky was clear, and it was 26 C at the time of the collision.

Read more: 3 dead in Brampton crash, 3 injured including 3 children

Foreman told the court that she watched as data was retrieved from both vehicles’ event data recorders. She testified that five seconds before the collision, the Corvette was travelling at 164 km/h and one second prior to the crash its speed dropped to 142 km/h. The posted speed limit in 2018 was 80 km/h. The Kia’s data recorder showed that it was travelling at 40 km/h five seconds before the crash and 29 km/h one second before the crash.

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During cross-examination, Manzon’s lawyer suggested that since the fatal crash, the speed limit along that stretch of Highway 50 has been reduced and there is planning for the speed limit to be lowered again.

Riccobene’s aunt, Salvina Greco, who is watching the trial through Zoom, told Global News that regardless of the posted speed limit, Manzon was travelling way too fast.

“What possessed him to travel at a rate like that on a summer night, 9 o’clock in the evening. There are families coming home from being at a picnic or a party like Julia was,” said Greco.

Read more: Witnesses of triple-fatal Brampton collision recount trying to save victims

“You choose to drive irresponsibly and recklessly like that, you’re putting everyone’s life at risk that’s on the road. We lost three lives. This forever changes your family. We have to carry this pain forever.”

Manzon, who was charged with 10 offences, including three counts of criminal negligence causing death and three counts of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death, pleaded not guilty.

Greco said what makes this trial even harder is that her brother and Julia’s father, Angelo Riccobene, died in May.

“He passed away after contracting COVID this year. He spent three months fighting in ICU and unfortunately he passed away, so he’s not here to advocate for his daughter. It’s been a tremendously difficult year,” she said.

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