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Driver in Saltspring car crash that killed friend placed on probation

Jul 07 2012

A Saltspring Island woman who crashed a high-powered vehicle on Fulford Ganges Road, killing her friend, has been placed on probation and prohibited from driving for 18 months.

Laura Georgina Rann, 27, was originally charged with dangerous driving causing the death of her good friend Reid Curtis Parent on the morning of Nov. 14, 2010. On Friday, she pleaded guilty to a charge under the Motor Vehicle Act of driving without due care and attention.

In addition to 18 months of probation and her driving prohibition, Victoria provincial court Judge Adrian Brooks ordered Rann to perform 40 hours of community service in the next year.

Crown prosecutor Bob Jones told the court that Rann had only had her driver’s licence for six weeks when she crashed her brand new Dodge Challenger on the way to the ferry at 9:28 a.m.

Police believe she exceeded the critical curve speed of 77 kilometres an hour and lost control of the car, which began to swerve and rotate, Jones said. The car went into the ditch and the passenger side collided with a tree.

Parent, who grew up on Saltspring Island but was living in Crofton, was killed instantly. It took police and firefighters an hour to extract Rann from the crushed car.

Defence lawyer Steven Kelliher said Rann grew up on Saltspring Island and had completed an accounting course at Camosun College in Victoria. At the time of the crash, she had taken a few weeks off to begin a job search and was visiting friends on the island.

“This is a young woman who had her full driver’s licence for only six weeks, driving a high-powered vehicle she was unfamiliar with, on a wet, foggy winter road,” Kelliher said. “She went around a corner a little too fast, with tragic consequences. This will be with her for the rest of her life.”

Rann’s shoulder was damaged and she suffered facial injuries in the accident. She will need ongoing and intensive physical and psychological therapy, Kelliher said.

After Parent’s death, Rann commissioned a portrait of him that hangs in her room, Kelliher said. She never did complete her job search and continues to work at jobs that pay minimum wage.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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