Photo by Tom Zytaruk

Surrey driver who killed two women was doing 167 km/h when he lost control

Nicolas Karvouniaris, 25, has lengthy list of traffic violation charges

A Surrey man with a lengthy record for bad driving heard from the families of two women he killed, and another he seriously injured, after his vehicle hit their’s head-on after he lost control while doing 167 km/h down 88th Avenue during a rain storm.

More than 100 people attended 25-year-old Nicolas Karvouniaris’s sentencing hearing in Surrey provincial court on Thursday, with judge Patricia Stark presiding. She reserved her decision to Sept. 26, after hearing heartbreaking victim-impact statements.

Karvouniaris pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving causing death and one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm in May.

Sarah Dhillon, 50, and Paige Nagata, 19, both of Abbotsford, died as a result of their injuries in the Nov. 4, 2018 crash that also injured Olivia Kilian, 22.

The crash happened at 88th Avenue, near 134th Street, when Karvouniaris’ Jeep Cherokee during extremely heavy rain conditions leapt a centre median and smashed head-on into Dhillon’s Ford Escape.

According to court records, prior to this fatal crash Karvouniaris had a lengthy list of traffic violation charges for speeding in a playground in Surrey, speeding in Vancouver, Whistler and Langley, driving while using an electronic device in Vancouver, entering an intersection on a red light in Vancouver, and violating a restriction on his driver’s licence in Surrey.

“The question that screams to be answered is how many times does the accused need to be told to stop speeding,” Crown prosecutor Winston Sayson said.

Sayson argued for a sentence of 22 to 24 months in prison, less one day, which would mean provincial and not federal time, to be served concurrently on all three counts, to be followed by 18 to 24 months’ probation. Defence lawyer Marvin Stern argued for a sentence of one year to 15 months.

Dhillon, an Abbotsford nurse, wife and mother of three boys was behind the wheel of the Ford Escape. She died instantly of multiple and catastrophic blunt-force injuries while Nagata died later in hospital of blunt force injuries.

Kilian, whose victim impact statement was read in court by her mother, told the judge her “whole self” had been taken away by the crash. Ironically, she will never drive again because of eye damage from the crash. She told the court she lives in pain. She woke up one month after the crash, in hospital, with all kinds of tubes in her, and not knowing why. She suffered from three strokes, her liver was “shredded,” her spleen had to be removed, and she sustained brain damage and broken bones. “At one point I flat-lined.”

The court heard Karvouniaris was left with small scrapes and redness on his right wrist.

Sayson said the young man has “demonstrated significant remorse and sorrow for the carnage he caused.”

Karvouniaris was literally held captive audience to a string of emotionally draining victim impact statements from the family members of his victims. Nagata’s mom Marlene told the court she’s “so lonely” without her daughter, and her sister Brooke said the loss of her sibling “has left a massive void in me.”

Shaun Demmitt, Dhillon’s only brother, flew in from Australia to deliver his victim impact statement in court. “Sarah’s death torments me endlessly,” he told the judge. “I am angry beyond words and my sorrow and anguish are unfathomable.”

Troy Demmitt, her father, said there are “no words to soothe the anger I feel,” and Dhillon’s mom Julie said she’d give the world just to hear her daughter say, once again, “Hi mom, it’s me.”

Paul Dhillon, an Abbotsford Police officer with 29 years service, has seen the aftermath of many a fatal crash while on duty. He spoke of seeing his own wife’s lifeless body covered with a yellow blanket.

“I don’t expect anything you’re going to do is going to bring me comfort,” he told the judge.

“I adored her,” he said of his wife. “I live with devastation.”

homelessphoto

Sarah Dhillon

homelessphoto

Paige Nagata



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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