2012-09-25 at 11:14
Storey admits guilt
Storey's attorney Leo Kinahan.
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OPP Sgt. Darryl Storey has admitted his driving caused the death of an 18-year-old Thunder Bay woman.
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The Thunder Bay trial, expected to last several weeks, took an unexpected turn on Tuesday when Storey pleaded guilty at the Superior Court of Justice to dangerous driving causing death.
Storey originally faced a charge of criminal negligence in connection to the Dec. 3, 2008 death of 18-year-old Jasmine Veneruzzo after the vehicle he was traveling in struck and killed her near the intersection of Twin City Crossroads and Highway 11/17.
Storey pleaded not guilty to that charge.
Both the Crown and defence agreed that on the day of the crash Storey’s driving was a departure from normal driving behaviour. A Superior-North EMS paramedic testified earlier this week that Storey told them he was driving the car at top speed – 210 kilometres per hour.
Judge Cas Herold called Storey’s actions “incredibly stupid,” but accepted his guilty plea for dangerous driving causing death.
“Whether or not Veneruzzo, stopped, didn’t come to a complete stop or went through the stop sign, she didn’t have a chance,” Herold said. “With both criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving, the Crown must prove that the driving is a mark departure from the norm. I find Darryl Storey not guilty of criminal negligence causing death, but guilty of dangerous driving causing death.”
Upon hearing the verdict, Veneruzzo's family appeared emotional and hugged Crown attorney James Palangio.
Defence lawyer Leo Kinahan told the court Storey suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was acting as an administrative sergeant in 2008 at the time of the collision. His duties at the time included looking after the OPP’s fleet of vehicles, making sure they operated properly.
Kinahan said on the day of the crash, Storey was testing a vehicle that had reportedly been acting up. The power steering had some difficulties and the vehicle was known to stall on occasion, he said.
Storey was traveling at varying speeds and when he came to the intersection, he spotted a yellow car that didn’t come to a complete stop at the stop sign, he said.
In order to try to avoid the car, Storey attempted to slow down and veer off to the side but wasn’t able to avoid the other vehicle, driven by Veneruzzo, and the two collided, Kinahan said.
Palangio said a guilty plea at any stage would bring finality to the trial and described it as a public admission of guilt on the part of Storey.
Herold is scheduled to sentence Storey on Jan. 18, 2013. It’s expected that the sentencing will be done through teleconference so the judge, who was imported for the trial, can remain in his home region.
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