Impatience costs frustrated driver
He grew angry while stuck in construction zone
The bizarre case of a British Columbia man who grew impatient waiting in traffic in the Espanola area, sped off and almost hit a flagperson before running over pylons came to a conclusion Wednesday.
Ali Hajizadeh, 51, was not present at the Sudbury Courthouse to enter a plea to the Highway Traffic Act charge of careless driving, but his lawyer, Denis Michel, did on his behalf with the consent of the Crown.
Hajizadeh was fined $1,000, the amount being suggested in a joint sentencing submission by the Crown and Michel, and did take into account Hajizadeh had made a charitable donation of $1,500 to the Royal Columbian Hospital in his home province.
Hajizadeh, the court heard, owns and operates a car dealership in British Columbia and owns another in Ottawa, which he has someone run for him.
“I’m somewhat comforted by the fact he has paid the $1,500 on top of the fine,” said Ontario Court Justice John Keast. “(But) these are bad facts. Crashed into pylons on a closed area of the four-laned stretch (of Highway 17). There may have been many more people in close proximity to where this occurred. It’s fortunate nobody was injured in the circumstances.”
The Crown heard Hajizadeh was driving a 2013 Ford Econoline van that was stopped on a section of Highway 17 in the Espanola area that was undergoing reconstruction Oct. 2. Work crews noticed that Hajizadeh had traffic cones from a construction site in his vehicle, the cones having a value of about $1,000. After a discussion with members of the work crew, Hajizadeh suddenly accelerated his vehicle.
“A worker had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck,” said assistant Crown attorney Catherine Hansuld. “He left at a high rate of speed. He did stop, did remove the traffic cones and threw them in the ditch. He did drive erratically.”
Michel said it was the flagperson who jumped out of the way.
“It had been some 45 minutes,” he said. “There was no construction going on. He got out of his car, got into a verbal altercation with them. ”Michel said Hajizadeh felt threatened in the situation, he panicked, got into his vehicle and sped off. The lawyer added Hajizadeh did run over pylons, but did stop further up the highway and threw them away.
“He should have stayed there (the scene of the conversation with the work crew) and called the police,” said Michel.
Hansuld said it was an aggravating factor that the reckless driving occurred in a construction zone and involved “disregard for the safety of others. ”But the assistant Crown attorney also noted that mitigating factors in the case were that no one was hurt and Hajizadeh did not have a prior record.
As a result of the guilty plea, two Criminal Code charges Hajizadeh was facing – dangerous driving and theft under $5,000 – were withdrawn by the Crown.