Crown seeks 13 years for driver in 2020 Starbucks crash that killed 3
Crown prosecutors are seeking a total of 13 years in prison for the driver of a sports car that crashed into an Edmonton Starbucks in 2020, killing all three of his passengers.
Oscar Benjumea, 27, pleaded guilty in May to three counts of dangerous driving causing death in the July 3, 2020 crash, as well as to a fourth count of failing to stop at an accident involving death.
His sentencing hearing resumed on Monday after beginning in October.
Prosecutors are seeking 12-year sentences, to be served concurrently, for each of the deaths and also a one-year sentence for leaving the scene.
“As the driver, Mr. Benjumea ought to have exercised a duty of care towards his passengers,” said Crown prosecutor Kate Andress.
“Instead, he drove in a patently dangerous manner which put the lives of everyone around him at risk, and unfortunately, but predictably, killed all of his passengers when he caused a catastrophic collision.”
Andress listed the rate of speed and Benjumea’s consumption of alcohol prior to the collision as aggravating factors. She also noted he was banned from driving at the time of the crash.
Also Monday, court heard victim impact statements from the families of the two women killed in the crash: Georgia Donovan and Emma Macarthur.
Donovan’s sister described her "tremendously broken heart" and how her family is still coming to terms with their loss.
"The world is duller, my emotions feel less vibrant and my plans for the future have less meaning without being able to share them with Georgia," she said.
A statement from Macarthur’s teenaged brother described how he was close to his sister and that he misses her hugs and smile.
"She brought joy to people's lives and was someone you could look up to.”
Benjumea’s friend, Faisal Yousef, was also killed in the crash.
The sentencing hearing is scheduled to continue on Wednesday and Thursday. The defence has yet to make its sentencing submissions.
Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Peter Michalyshyn said he expects to deliver his sentence in mid-January.
‘SO FAST MY VEHICLE SHOOK’
According to an agreed statement of facts, Benjumea was driving his 2018 Audi R S5 at a speed of up to 193 km/h in an area with a posted speed limit of 60 km/h after leaving a Whyte Avenue bar with the three others after 2 a.m.
A witness told investigators the Audi was travelling "so fast my vehicle shook when he drove by us" as he drove south on Calgary trail.
Benjumea lost control of the vehicle, hitting a curb and sending the vehicle airborne before it slid across a grassy area and slammed into the Starbucks near 55 Avenue.
The impact sheared off the passenger side of the vehicle as well as the roof and parts of the hood, leaving the engine exposed.
A 911 call played in court from a witness who pulled Benjumea from the wreckage described an injured, disoriented and suicidal Benjumea wandering around the crash site.
Court also saw surveillance video showing the Audi crash into the Starbucks before Benjumea fled the area by making his way through parking lots of several businesses along Calgary Trail.
He was arrested 10 hours later at his home in southwest Edmonton and taken to hospital with cuts, a fractured arm, and broken fingers.
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