The mother of a Langley teen killed in a Mission car crash in 2016 says that the driver’s sentence of a $1,500 fine is a “terrible insult.”
Angela Ramos told Black Press that she and her family are “having a really difficult time” with the decision handed down last Wednesday (Oct. 30) in Abbotsford provincial court against Jacob Blanthorne, 24, of Langley.
Her 15-year-old daughter Lidia was killed in the crash in March 2016.
“I am stuck in a hole I cannot get out of. My daughter … died at the hands of a (then) 21-year-old man when he took her for a drive in his car without my permission,” Ramos said.
She said a $1,500 fine equates to $100 for each year of her daughter’s life.
Blanthorne was initially charged with the criminal offences of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
But the judge’s decision that he would receive no jail time was delivered after he previously pleaded guilty to the lesser non-criminal charge of driving without due care and attention.
Ramos said she feels cheated that she and her family were not permitted to read their victim-impact statements in court.
“All of us feel robbed of the opportunity to grieve my daughter, to heal, to find any closure. Our wounds feel as fresh as they did over three years ago,” she said.
Ramos said change is needed to the laws involving vehicular fatalities. She urges the public to write to government officials and tell them that reform is needed to victims’ rights.
“I do not want any family to suffer as we have suffered under this kind of injustice,” Ramos said.
The crash took place in the early morning of March 5, 2016 on Burma Road in Mission.
Police at the time said it appeared that Blanthorne lost control on the slick turns as he and three others were coming back from a bonfire party off a logging road during a heavy rainstorm.
The 1999 Nissan Sentra slid 15 feet down an embankment and came to rest on its passenger side with the roof against a tree, police said at the time.
Lidia, who was in the backseat of the vehicle, died at the scene. The 16-year-old Langley boy sitting beside her was critically injured, but survived.
The driver and the front-seat passenger, a 19-year-old from Surrey, were taken to hospital with upper-body injuries and were released.
Mission RCMP said at the time that speed was believed to be a factor in the crash.
Lidia, a Grade 10 Brookswood Secondary student, was one of six children in her family. She would have celebrated her 16th birthday within days of the crash.
– with files from Joti Grewal