A Vaughan, Ont., man who left his 16-year-old girlfriend lying in live lanes of traffic on a cold winter night in January 2020 and drove off after she fell out of his moving car, has been sentenced to eight months in jail, 18 months probation and a two-year driving ban.
Adhinath Sankar, 22, was led away in handcuffs from a Brampton courtroom after Ontario Court Justice Paul Monahan delivered his sentence Friday.
On Sept. 1, 2021, Sankar pleaded guilty to failing to remain at the scene of the accident after an extensive Peel Police investigation into the circumstances of the death of 16-year-old Dianna Manan.
According to an agreed statement of facts, on the evening of Jan. 4, 2020, Sankar and Manan attended a baby shower for a friend on Princess Valley Crescent in Brampton after spending the day together.
They left the party around midnight. Video surveillance showed that as they walked away from the party, Manan stopped and lay down on the sidewalk. Sankar and friends could be seen picking her up off the ground and putting her into his 2008 Infiniti.
At 12:17 a.m. on Jan. 5, 2020, as Sankar drove eastbound on Queen Street near Cherrycrest Drive, with Manan in the passenger seat. Manan somehow fell from the car while it was in motion.
Sankar continued eastbound on Queen Street leaving the scene. There were six lanes of live traffic and the temperature outside was 0 C. The posted speed limit was 80 km/hr.
Several passing motorists stopped at the scene and witnessed the teenaged girl lying motionless and bleeding from the head.
Emergency services were called and when paramedics arrived, they found the teen with a pulse and breathing. Manan was taken to hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.
At the time of the incident, Peel Police appealed for witnesses believing Manan had been a victim of a hit-and-run. Investigators later realized there was no evidence of a collision.
An autopsy found Manan died of blunt head injury. She had multiple blunt injuries on her face, head, right torso and extremities. The doctor concluded her injuries were caused by interaction with the road surface. Her blood alcohol level was 126 mg/100 ml of blood.
Following the incident, Sankar’s vehicle was observed on video surveillance driving around the area.
Dashcam video obtained from another motorist showed the Infiniti driving past the accident scene and parking at a plaza east of where Manan had fallen out of the car. The vehicle stayed there for a period of time.
Sankar then returned to the location of the baby shower on Princess Valley Crescent and was seen inspecting his vehicle.
Justice Monahan called the circumstances of Sankar’s actions shocking.
“Mr. Sankar had an obligation to help Ms. Manan and he completely failed to do so,” Monahan said. “It’s bad enough not to help a stranger, but the failure to help Ms. Manan is even worse. Further, she was a passenger in his vehicle and she was his girlfriend.”
Monahan noted that Sankar knew she must have been compromised because of the alcohol in her body.
“About 17 minutes earlier, he was picking her up off the sidewalk after the baby shower. It is further aggravating and shocking that he would leave her in a live lane of traffic. Six lanes. The fact she was not hit by another vehicle was pure luck,” said Monahan.
“When she fell out of a moving car in a six-lane roadway, he leaves her and does not stop. He didn’t know if she was dead or alive. As it happens, she was alive. We now know she would not have survived the fall from the vehicle no matter what. He left her for others to help when he had an obligation to help her,” Monahan told the court, saying that Manan was only 16 and had her whole life ahead of her.
The Crown had asked for a sentence of 15 to 18 months in jail while the defence suggested a three-month sentence would be more appropriate.
Monahan called it “a very serious fail-to-remain case” and said he hoped it would send a message of denunciation and deterrence.
Sankar was also ordered to perform 75 hours of community service and to submit his DNA.