Fine, driving ban stemming from 2015 fatal crash on Yellowhead in Vinsulla

72-year-old pleaded guilty in Kamloops provincial court on Monday to driving without due care and attention

By Tim Petruk

Kamloops This Week

An elderly Kamloops-area woman who killed a recent immigrant to Canada in a collision on the Yellowhead Highway last year has been fined $1,000 and banned from driving for a year.

Joyce Doll, 72, pleaded guilty in Kamloops provincial court on Monday to driving without due care and attention stemming from a July 2015 crash that claimed the life of 53-year-old Swarn Kaur Shergill.

Court heard the two-vehicle collision took place on Highway 5 in Vinsulla, 30 kilometres north of Kamloops, on July 28, 2015.

Doll was driving a pickup truck northbound waiting to make a left turn on her way home. Shergill and three relatives were southbound in a Volkswagen Jetta.

“What occurred was a bus went past in the lane through which Ms. Doll needed to turn,” Crown prosecutor Sarah Firestone said. “The bus went past and Ms. Doll turned, failing to see the Jetta coming behind the bus.”

The crash sent both vehicles spinning out of control, Firestone said. Shergill was pronounced dead at the scene and two of her relatives — including her husband, Swarn Singh Shergill — suffered significant injuries.

“The bus appeared to Ms. Doll to be the last vehicle in a line of traffic, but it was not,” Firestone said. “It was the Jetta.”

Reading a victim-impact statement in court, Amandeep Chahal said her mother, Shergill, moved to Canada from India in 2014, the year before the crash.

“There is nothing left in our lives now,” she said. “We feel like we have lost everything. It is so hard to live without her.”

Chahal said her father’s injuries have left him permanently disabled and he will never work. That has forced other family members to pick up the slack and begin working additional jobs.

“We came to what we thought was a safer place and now she’s gone,” Swarn Singh Shergill said in a written statement read to court. “She was the centre of our family. She took care of all of us.”

Defence lawyer Eric Rines called the fatal collision “a tragic accident.” He said Doll has been driving for 56 years and had never been involved in a crash before last summer’s fatal incident.

“She said she doesn’t know how she didn’t see the vehicle,” he said. “She considers herself a very conscientious driver.”

Doll apologized in court.

“It was a really bad accident — bad judgement on my part,” she said. “I’m really sorry.”