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Not guilty verdict in fatal crash to be appealed

Andelina Kristina Hecimovic was driving this red Toyota Paseo before it crashed into an oncoming car in Pitt Meadows, killing a young couple. - The News/Files
Andelina Kristina Hecimovic was driving this red Toyota Paseo before it crashed into an oncoming car in Pitt Meadows, killing a young couple.
— image credit: The News/Files

The Crown will appeal a judgment that found a young Maple Ridge woman not guilty on two counts of dangerous driving causing death.

Crown will ask the B.C. Court of Appeal to set aside the acquittals and order a new trial for Andelina Hecimovic, who lost control of her car, killing a young couple in Pitt Meadows three years ago.

"The Crown alleges that the trial judge made a legal error by applying an incorrect legal standard in determining whether the accused was guilty of the offences," said Crown spokesperson Neil MacKenzie in a statement Monday.

The Court of Appeal will ultimately decide whether the appeal should proceed.

No hearing date has yet been confirmed for the appeal.

Rebecca ‘Beckie’ Dyer, 19, and her boyfriend, Johnny De Oliveira, 21, died around midnight Oct. 19. 2010, when a Toyota driven by Hecimovic skidded sideways over a concrete median, flipped and landed on top of their Suzuki Swift.

Hecimovic, 26, was driving in the right-turn-only lane when she crossed the intersection of Harris Road and Lougheed Highway on a red light. An expert estimated she hit the concrete median at a speed of between 100 or 110 km/hr.

Crown alleged Hecimovic made a series of "deliberate" decisions that led to her losing control of her car after she hit a concrete island but the trial judge disagreed.

Madame Justice Miriam Gropper found Hecimovic's behaviour was not a "marked departure from the norm" as many people speed along that particular stretch of Lougheed Highway.

Justice Gropper also believed that Hecimovic was unfamiliar with that stretch of highway although her fiancé had lived about a kilometre ahead, on Meadows Gardens Way, for almost two years before the crash.

"A tragic event occurred at that time and place," said Justice Gropper in her ruling.

"Two young adults died of the injuries they sustained. Ms. Hecimovic must live with the fact that she is responsible for this terrible tragedy but she has not committed these serious criminal offences."

News of the appeal was welcome by the families of the young couple killed in the crash.

Both families launched a letter writing campaign, accompanied with a heart-breaking video, following Hecimovic's acquittal.

Dyer's mother Debbie is grateful to the people who wrote to the attorney general of B.C. and the federal Minister of Justice. She credits them for bringing attention to the public interest value of an appeal.

"Thanks to Crown and everyone that worked so to make this happen and hopefully this will bring some justice. Let's hope round two brings better results," said Dyer.

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