'This is torture': Sentencing submissions for teen driver who fatally struck 2 kids in Vaughan driveway
Jax, Anaya killed by careening Mercedes that struck them in 2021
March 2, 2022
The parents of Anaya, 10, and Jax, 4, Chaudhari -- the two children killed in a residential driveway by an out-of-control vehicle being driven by a Richmond Hill teenager at 102 km/h -- spent March 1 in court describing their anguish and sorrow, ahead of the sentencing submissions and the teen’s sentencing.
Binta Patel and her husband, Ketan Chaudhari, read their agonizing victim impact statements, tears flowing for much of the hearing.
Both described that horrifying day, May 16, 2021, when the family was spending a sunny Sunday morning in their Athabasca Drive driveway, in Maple.
Patel said her husband was fixing the water hose while Anaya and Jax were standing on their neighbour’s driveway.
Known to the children as 'Mr. John', John Chiarelli was repairing Anaya’s bike chain, which had been repeatedly falling off the sprocket.
Luckily for her, the family’s middle child, Kaya, who would survive without physical injury, was playing with the family dog, Coco, near the garage.
It was at this point that Chaudhari looked up and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the luxury Mercedes flying through the air before making contact with the children and Chiarelli.
"Tell me what a mother does in a moment when not one, but two of her children have been hit at the exact same moment, while another child is standing behind her screaming, crying, afraid having witnessed something no child should ever have to see?" Patel said.
She told the court how Chaudhari went with Jax as he was taken to Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital, as paramedics didn’t feel there was enough time to get him to downtown Toronto.
She went with Anaya to SickKids.
"What will happen to Jax? Will he be OK?" she said were some of the thoughts going through her head while she watched paramedics fit a breathing tube in her daughter.
First it was Jax who died, that same day.
The parents prayed for their daughter’s life.
"I didn’t get the time to give my Jax the reverence he deserved," Patel said, explaining how the pair were forced to turn their attention to their daughter. "It felt like someone was slowly squeezing the air out of (me)."
Anaya died the following day.
Patel's victim impact simply asked the question 'why?' the teen, then age 16, drove that fast.
Although the guilty teen was seen on video call during the conviction, he could only be seen from afar, sitting beside his lawyer Seth Weinstein, one of Brian Greenspan’s partners, at the Newmarket Courthouse.
Weinstein argued his client should be given two-years probation, a maximum of 240 hours of community service and a five-year driving prohibition.
"I understand the thirst for punishment, but when we're examining the conduct ... we're examining a very narrow window," he said, explaining the teen's actions amounted to about seven seconds.
The teen made a statement to the court that can be read, in part, in this article's sidebar.
Weinstein said his client was, prior to the incident, a "dream child" who wanted to be a doctor and prioritized all the right things. Since the incident, he said he's been struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide.
Crown Sean Doyle submitted that the teen should be handed a two-year "custody and supervision order", split between 16-months open custody and eight-months of community supervision, plus one-year probation, an eight-year driving prohibition and a DNA order, given the guidelines of the Youth Criminal Justice Act -- the same act that protects the teen’s identity.
He said some of the aggravating factors include speeding on a residential street while approaching a curve he couldn’t see around.
The mitigating factors, he said, were the teen’s "early" guilty plea, his support from his family and in the community, and his lack of criminal record.
Chaudhari described how his son always had to be holding something, such as his favourite tiger figurine or a toy truck, and recalled how his daughter needed her pillows fluffed just right and her bedspread laid perfectly, without creases.
"Are you getting a sense of the charismatic, loving souls you killed?" he asked the teen.
In a moment of exasperation, amid his tears, the court microphones picked up Chaudhari saying, "F**k, this is torture".
Chiarelli remembered how he awoke moments after the crash, lying face down on the ground, to the sounds of someone telling him to "get up" and that he was a registered nurse.
He explained how that individual was the teenager.
During the teen’s conviction, the court heard how residents said the teen blamed the incident on the vehicle locking up, suggested that he "couldn’t steer it", that the brakes were faulty and that he was "reaching" for his wallet.
Nothing was found to be wrong with the car, according to a vehicle analysis.
The court heard during the teen’s conviction how the brake was not depressed before the vehicle’s wheels struck the curb.
"It’s my mind that has to bear these feelings of anger and vengeance and figure out how to process it all with the confusion of knowing that my only way out through this is forgiveness," Patel said at the end of her statement.Justice David Rose said he will reserve judgment for more than a week.