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Burnaby Mountie fined $1,500 for crash that killed two

An RCMP accident investigator takes measurements at the scene of a fatal collision at Royal Oak and Kingsway involving a Burnaby RCMP cruiser and two other vehicles. - MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER FILE
An RCMP accident investigator takes measurements at the scene of a fatal collision at Royal Oak and Kingsway involving a Burnaby RCMP cruiser and two other vehicles.
— image credit: MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER FILE

A Burnaby Mountie who crashed into a car, killing two men, while responding to an emergency call pleaded guilty last week to driving without due care and attention.

Burnaby RCMP Const. Petina Kostiuk was originally charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing death under the Criminal Code.

She pleaded guilty to the lesser charge, under the Motor Vehicle Act, and was sentenced to pay a $1,500 fine and a victim surcharge of $225.

On Oct. 31, 2007, Kostiuk was responding to a call of a suicidal woman in South Burnaby.

She was driving west on Kingsway in a police cruiser with the lights and sirens on when she went through a red light and hit a car travelling south on Royal Oak Avenue.

The car’s driver, Albert Haczewski, 27, and passenger Walter Hara, 26, were lifelong friends.

Both died of their injuries.

“Ultimately, the Crown took into account that the officer was proceeding to an urgent call but, notwithstanding that, her driving didn’t meet the standard that was expected,” said Neil MacKenzie, spokesman for B.C. Crown prosecutors.

He noted that since the incident, RCMP protocol calls for officers to stop before proceeding through a red light. Previously, they were only required to slow down.

Police have also moved their sirens so they’re more audible to other traffic.

“Even under the protocols that were in place at that time, the Crown was satisfied that it was driving without due care and attention to enter the intersection in the manner that the officer did.”

Kostiuk remains employed by Burnaby RCMP but according to media reports, she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and has been unable to return to work.

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

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