In a small courtroom inside the Finch Avenue courthouse, Olivia and Julia Sarracini’s mother, father and older brother sat directly behind Shawn Ramsey as the 47-year-old Toronto man admitted to driving the SUV that struck the teenaged sisters in the early morning hours of June 7 before leaving the scene.
Seventeen-year-old Olivia was killed and 19-year-old Julia continues to suffer from injuries to her knee.
“It’s really not that long ago and then to be in the court and face this, it’s a really tough thing to do,” said Carolyn Swinson, from Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers, who was also in the courtroom supporting the Sarracini family.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Ramsey was operating a 2017 GMC Terrain registered to his girlfriend and was turning westbound onto Calvinton Drive off the northbound lanes of Keele Street at around 12:15 am.
As Ramsey made the left-hand turn onto Calvington Drive, he struck both Olivia and Julia in the crosswalk with the left front of his vehicle. Julia was thrown a short distance south. Olivia was thrown several metres to the west.
Continuing westbound on Calvington Drive, Ramsey drove over Olivia, who was laying in the roadway.
As Ramsey’s vehicle hit the curb on the north side of Calvington Drive, he braked briefly but did not stop. He left the scene at a high rate of speed, about 76 km/h in a 50 km/h zone, travelling through a number of stop signs as he went.
Julia was injured but got up and ran to her sister’s side. Olivia had suffered severe head and facial trauma. As Julia screamed, people in the area arrived and called 911.
Paramedics arrived and police prepared for an emergency run to a Toronto hospital but Olivia could not be saved. She succumbed to her injuries at the scene.
Her sister was taken to a hospital with soft tissue injuries and damage to her ACL. Julia continues to go through intensive rehabilitation in anticipation of surgery to the knee.
Two days later, Ramsey surrendered to Toronto Police Traffic Services with his lawyer and admitted to being the driver of the vehicle that struck Julia and Olivia.
He also provided the location of the GMC Terrain. It was later located in a parking lot at Keele Street and Lawrence Avenue West. Ramsey was held for a show-cause hearing and ultimately released to a surety on July 10.
The agreed statement of facts also said that Ramsey was driving his girlfriend’s vehicle that night.
On March 24, Ramsey was arrested and charged with impaired operation of a vehicle and failing to stop after an accident. He had his licence suspended for 90 days and was still under suspension at the time of the fail-to-remain collision. Those charges are still before the courts.
After the hearing, Ramsey’s lawyer, Shale Wagman, told Global News his client suffers from panic attacks and panicked that night. He said he will be bringing forward medical evidence during the sentencing hearing.
“He showed his remorse by pleading guilty to four charges,” said Wagman.
The charges include failing to stop at the scene of an accident causing death, failing to stop at the scene of an accident causing bodily harm, careless driving causing death, and careless driving causing bodily harm.
Wagman said he will be seeking a sentence of 90 days in jail to be served on weekends.
Ramsey did not leave the front doors of the courthouse but instead left through a door reserved for lawyers in an unsuccessful attempt to evade Global News. Ramsey said nothing as he and his father climbed into an SUV.
Assistant Crown Attorney Brad Burgess told the court he will be suggesting a jail term of two years less a day.
A sentencing hearing will be held in March.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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