An Edmonton man pleaded guilty Monday to hit-and-run after abandoning a teenager fatally injured in a three-car crash that police believe happened during a street race.

Rena Noi Onevathana, 34, was inside a white Lexus at 11:30 on the night of April 23, 2010 as it sped northbound on 66th Street at 122 km/h. Witnesses told police that a Mercedes-Benz was speeding alongside the Lexus in the 60 km/h zone, according to an agreed statement of facts.

At the same time, 16-year-old Jeremie LeBlanc made a left turn in his Oldsmobile Alero at the intersection of 66th Street and 31st Avenue. LeBlanc was on his way to Grey Nuns Hospital, where his sister was giving birth.

LeBlanc’s car was struck first by the Lexus, then by the Mercedes-Benz, both of which were speeding. All three cars were destroyed.

Though Leblanc was fatally injured, Onevathana and a second occupant of the Lexus ran off without stopping to help. Leblanc later died at the University of Alberta Hospital. “The Crown is not in a position to prove which occupant of the Lexus was the driver,” reads the agreed statement of fact submitted to court.

Police found photographs and a traffic ticket belonging to Onevathana in the Lexus, which he’d borrowed earlier that day from a woman named Hong Nguyen. The Lexus was owned by the Lucky 97 Supermarket.

The same night of the crash, Onevathana falsely claimed the vehicle had been stolen. Nguyen found that suspicious, as the Lexus had anti-theft features and the engine would not start unless a special electronic key was near the vehicle.

The day after the crash, Onevathana admitted to Nguyen that the car he’d borrowed from her was involved in a crash that he had fled.

Onevathana’s sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.

Jayant Soni, who is also charged in connection with the fatal crash, is scheduled to go to trial in October 2014 on one count each of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle by street racing causing death and refusal to provide a breath sample.

Source: Edmonton Journal


Last updated on: 2013-10-22 | Link to this post