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93-year-old pleads guilty to careless driving after crash involving CTV Kitchener reporter

A road closed sign is seen on Brock Road south of Guelph, Ont. on March 1, 2023. (CTV Kitchener) A road closed sign is seen on Brock Road south of Guelph, Ont. on March 1, 2023. (CTV Kitchener)

A 93-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to careless driving causing bodily harm in the crash that sent CTV News Kitchener reporter Stephanie Villella to hospital with life-threatening injuries last year.

On March 1, 2023, Villella was at the intersection of Brock Road and Maltby Road, which had been closed and barricaded by police, when she was hit by the then 92-year-old woman driving a sedan.

At the time of the crash, Villella was gathering images of separate two-vehicle crash that happened on Brock Road earlier in the day.

Almost two months later, the driver was charged with careless driving causing bodily harm.

According to a provincial offences court clerk, the driver appeared in court on Friday for a judicial pre-trial. After pleading guilty, the fine imposed was $2,000 along with a driver’s licence suspension of one year. The woman voluntarily turned her driver’s licence in to the Ministry of Transportation and will no longer be driving.

Family sues

Villella and her family filed a lawsuit against the driver who hit her, an unnamed Guelph police officer, the Guelph Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police and the province. for a collective $15.7 million in damages.

According to the lawsuit’s statement of claim, Villella was standing within the road-closed barricade when, without warning, the driver’s car passed through the barricade and struck her.

The statement of claim alleges the Guelph police officer failed to properly secure the roadway and ought to have known the barricades erected were not sufficient. It also says he failed to properly direct traffic around the barricaded section of the roadway.

The lawsuit alleges the province of Ontario, the Guelph Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are vicariously liable for the negligence of the officer.

Villella sustained extreme injuries, nervous shock, emotional and physical trauma, the lawsuit says.

“Stephanie’s ability to work and enjoy the fulfillment obtained from being productive and a contributing member of society and her family has been permanently impaired,” the statement of claim says.

Lawsuit defence

The Province has now filed a statement of defence on behalf of the OPP, as well as a third party claim against Villella’s employer Bell Media.

None of the allegations made in the lawsuit, or counter claims made through statements of defence, have been tested or proven in court.

CTV Kitchener is a division of Bell Media. Top Stories

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