Surrey hit-and-run driver given two-year sentence for killing Mission motorcyclist
The family of a man killed in a hit-and-run crash almost five years ago was relieved to see the young man responsible led out of a Surrey courtroom in handcuffs Monday.
Dharamjit Singh Bains, 25, was sentenced to two years less a day in jail after a hearing in B.C. Provincial Court. He had earlier pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving causing death and leaving the scene of an accident in connection with the death of 41-year-old Alex Heibein of Mission.
“I think we all wish he got a little more,” Heibein’s father, Gordon, said outside of court. “It was good to see him not go home to his family. A lot was sure taken from our family.”
On June 2, 2007 Heibein was riding his new Harley-Davidson motorcycle to work, heading west on Highway 10 shortly after midnight, when a Dodge Caravan driven by Bains turned in front of him.
Heibein tried to brake but crashed into the passenger side of the van and was dragged as the vehicle turned left on to 148th Street. He died at the scene.
Bains, of Surrey, and his two passengers bailed out of the van and ran away.
Witnesses testified at a preliminary hearing that before the crash Bains was driving erratically — speeding, weaving, tailgating and flashing his high beams. His turn at 148th was reportedly fast, sharp and done without signalling.
Police investigated, but no arrest was made until Bains confessed two years after the crash that he was the driver. His parents helped him avoid responsibility by telling police their van had been stolen.
Last July Bains’ parents, Santokh and Harjinder, were given a six-month conditional sentence for their false statement.
Defence lawyer Ronald Coumont said Bains eventually came forward because he was haunted.
“His conscience wouldn’t let him rest,” Coumont said.
Bains backed up that comment during a tearful statement in court. Bains said the crash is the first thing he thinks about every morning and the last thing he thinks about every night.
“I don’t know what they [Heibein’s family] go through but it’s at least 10 times worse than what I’m going through,” Bains said.
Bains said he fled the scene because he panicked and he wants people to know he’s not a killer or a murderer.
“I’m a human being,” he said. “I have feelings, I have a heart.”
Outside court, Heibein’s wife April was skeptical about Bains’s conscience and remorse.
“It’s still all about him,” she said.
April was most disturbed to hear of Bains’ abysmal driving record.
Crown prosecutor Brad Kielmann said Bains was prohibited from driving at the time of the crash — his fifth prohibition. After the incident he racked up two more 24-hour suspensions plus other driving infractions.
“That’s hard to swallow,” April said. “Maybe someone will learn from this mistake. Here’s the bottom line: Hopefully there’s a lesson to be learned.”
Once released from jail, Bains will serve three years of probation under strict conditions and will be prohibited from driving for five years.