Additional charge laid against Markham man accused of killing off-duty police officer

Haoju Zhou sat in the prisoner’s box in a Newmarket, Ont., courtroom on Thursday, listening to an interpreter translate his bail hearing into Mandarin through an audio device, at times wiping away tears.

It’s been two weeks since the 23-year-old Markham man was arrested and charged with impaired driving and dangerous driving causing the death of off-duty York Regional Police Const. Travis Gillespie. On Thursday, court heard that an additional charge, over 80 milligrams causing death, had been added to the indictment.

It was Sept. 14 around 6 a.m. when York Regional Police were called to Major Mackenzie Drive west of Warden Avenue in Markham for a collision involving a Porsche Cayenne and a Honda sedan. Gillespie, 38, who was on his way to work in Richmond Hill, was driving the Honda and was critically injured. He was rushed to hospital, where he died.

Zhou, the driver of the Porsche, was arrested at the scene and later charged. Peel police are leading the investigation into the fatal collision to maintain the integrity of the case.

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Read more: Police name suspect facing impaired-related charge in crash that killed York police officer

Evidence heard at the bail hearing along with arguments heard for why Zhou should or should not be released on bail are covered under a publication ban.

The judge put the matter over to next Thursday to hear more evidence before deciding whether or not to release Zhou into the community while he awaits trial. Zhou is presumed innocent. His father waved at his son as he was led out of court in handcuffs.

Read more: ‘Truly larger than life’ — Family, colleagues remember York Region police officer killed in crash

Gillespie’s family was not physically in the courtroom but his brothers and mother appeared via Zoom on a video screen that could be seen in the court. At times, the brother’s video was turned off and an image of Gillespie’s name tag from his York Regional Police uniform was projected onto the screen.

The officer’s family is collecting donations for a martial arts scholarship in his name, a charity he was passionate about.

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