Calgary woman slapped $1,150 fine in motorcyclist death
Wed Sep 22, 12:10 AM
By Daryl Slade
It was a relatively minor driving mistake that Calgarians make every day, but this time with fatal results, a judge said in fining a woman $1,150 today for making an illegal left turn into the path of a motorcycle.
The driver of the 2007 Harley-Davidson bike, Terry Kunto, 44, tried to swerve clear of the offending minivan just before midnight on July 31, 2009, but could not avoid the collision that would take his life.
"There is no doubt the accused is extremely remorseful for what happened, and what she did was what happens on many occasions without any lasting result," provincial court Judge Peter Barley said before imposing the $1,000 fine on Rhea Martin, 34, plus a victim surcharge. "It's an indication why everybody should be careful at all times. This case, it wasn't even reckless or careless, just a driving mistake with tragic consequences."
Barley accepted a joint recommendation, proposed by Crown prosecutor Andrew Barg and defence lawyer James Murphy, for the fine and a 60-day driving suspension on the Traffic Safety Act ticket.
Barg read statements filed by Kunto's sister Lisa and brother Richard, outlining their family's devastating loss.
Martin sobbed through a heartfelt statement to court before sentencing, saying she wished Kunto's family could have been present to read their victim impact statements so she could personally apologize to them.
"I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to go out that night and kill someone. It was an accident," she said, sobbing. "The only thing that keeps me here is because of my son. I am so remorseful. I know I have to go through this for the rest of my life."
Court heard the collision occurred when Martin, 34, driving a 2009 Pontiac Montana minivan, was facing westbound on 32nd Ave. and made a left turn to travel north on Deerfoot Trail. A sign, which read 'Yield on solid green,' was on a light standard in front of her.
Martin did not see Kunto approaching the intersection eastbound on 32nd Ave. N.E., also on a green light, and turned left.
She struck the motorcycle, which fell to the ground and slid on its side into the van, striking the van's front side quarter panel. Kunto suffered severe injuries and died at the scene.