The packed courtroom was silent as a jury found Sommit Luangpakham guilty of all 10 charges for crashing a van into five cyclists on March Road, July 19, 2009.
The victims spoke up for the first time since the trial began. “The end of the trial has lifted a great weight from my heart that my family and I have been bearing since my friends and I were struck down by the criminal negligence of one man, a man who has not shown any remorse for his actions,” said one victim Mark White.
Luangpakham was charged with five counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and fleeing the scene of an accident. He is also facing a civil suit from the cyclists. His lawyer argued the 47-year-old fell asleep at the wheel briefly, only noticing after the crash that he’d hit something and didn’t stop as he thought it was a small post.
Crown lawyer Matthew Humphreys argued that it would have been impossible for him to miss the “bodies bouncing off, into and over” his van.
None of the cyclists have fully recovered since the crash, said cyclist Cathy Anderson.
“My partner Rob (Harland) has suffered a serious brain injury. His life has been devastated beyond anything you can imagine,” she said.
Yet, Anderson said she feels no anger towards Luangpakham and isn’t demanding he serves time in jail.
“I don’t feel one way or the other about it,” she said. “I’m just glad the truth came out.”
Anderson served as a spokesperson for the group when she testified. She was the only one that could remember the crash.
“I feel glad I can carry that torch for the folks who couldn’t speak,” said Anderson. “I have a voice and I am happy I was able to bring that truth to the stand.”
All three cyclists who spoke publically after the verdict said they were happy the trial was over.
“All I feel at this point is I’m so glad it’s over for all of us,” said Hilary McNamee.