Warning: this post contains graphic and disturbing language.
It was about 6:00pm back on Thursday, September 17, 2009, that I was going to my evening class. I was nervous and excited all at the some time because this was the first week of the new semester, and I was anticipating a hard and gruelling course, especially because it is a third year science class. I was driving from HY10, heading up on 128 Street towards 72 Avenue in Surrey, where the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Campus is located. Along 128 Street there was water-main construction taking place, so the road was full of obstacles and uneven surfaces that made driving on it very slow going.
With the road full of construction, traffic was continuously backed up, but it came to a complete standstill just before the turn off into the campus parking lot before 72 Avenue. I could see flashing and strobing lights ahead, and the sounds of several sirens racing towards the intersection of 128 Street and 72 Avenue. As I got closer, just before I was going to turn left I saw a green garbage can with its contents strewn across the road. Then I saw the tipped-over bench by the bus stop and clumps of freshly dug up grass and soil spread along the edge of the road, and then what looked like a suitcase full of clothes laying in the middle of the road. But tucked back up into some bushes and trees was the front of the dark coloured sports car pointing towards the road. The vehicle had somehow made a 180 degree turn when it slid off the road.
I pulled into the campus parking lot and parked when I saw a friend of mine who was walking from the scene of the accident less than 30 metres away, so I asked him what he saw. He said that he saw a man whose legs were completely severed from his body, and lots of blood. He described how he could see the bone of one of the legs and stated how still the man was as he laid on the ground. My friend was in shock from seeing this.
As for the young person who was in the car, my friend said “we were going to make sure the guy in the car was not going to run from the accident,” His car would not start, but he stayed inside it anyway.
I went to my class which started at 7:00pm, and everyone was talking about the accident. It was a few minutes later before it was known that what had happened was due to a street race, and one of drivers lost control and hit a man at the bus stop. One of the students in my class said she gave her statement to police because she saw the whole accident take place, and told of a yellow car that was racing along side the dark blue car just before it had sped out of control.
I am outraged as is everyone else I had talked to about this. I have had a day to think about what I had seen, and I have come to the conclusion that I am outraged about it. When I heard about it on the news the next day at work, I could not believe that it was in fact a street race, and that a elderly man sitting at a bus stop is hanging onto his life a result of it. What a stupid waste.
This is no doubt a selfless act of someone who at the expense of innocent bystanders was willing to endanger those around him for his personal enjoyment and adrenalin rush. In this light I see the vehicle as a weapon, and when misused like this it has the potential to kill because the user has taken it means beyond what its intended uses are. If the vehicle was being used under normal circumstance, such as normal speeds and driving operations, then this light would be different.
The worry is that our laws may not give the driver, if found guilty, what the public would consider proper sentencing and punishment for his crimes. Because a man maybe killed, he is reportedly clinging to life in the hospital at the time of this writing, then nothing less than a charge of (vehicular) manslaughter must be given. As it stands now, a charge of attempted manslaughter maybe the direction the Crown should move on this, either way a life sentence. I will be paying close attention to this to see what the RCMP are going to charge the driver with, and how the judge will rule on this when sentencing takes place. I think the public gaze will be very critical about this as the wheels of justice start to turn.