Sentencing hearing begins for driver in 2020 crash that killed 3

Edmonton –

A sentencing hearing got underway Monday for the Ontario man who was behind the wheel of an Audi sportscar when it left the road and struck a south Edmonton Starbucks, killing three passengers.

Oscar Benjumea, 26, pleaded guilty in May to three counts of dangerous driving causing death in the July 2020 crash.

His sentencing hearing is scheduled for two days in Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton.

Benjumea was driving his 2018 Audi R S5 at a speed of up to 193 km/h in an area with a posted speed limit of 60 km/h, according to an agreed statement of facts read out in court Monday.

Court heard that he and his three other passengers had met at a Whyte Avenue bar, shared drinks and left in the Audi just after 2 a.m.

A witness told investigators the Audi was travelling “so fast my vehicle shook when he drove by us” as he drove south on Calgary trail.

Benjumea lost control of the vehicle, hitting a curb and sending the vehicle airborne before it slid across a grass area and slamming into the Starbucks near 55 Avenue.

The impact sheared off the passenger side of the vehicle as well as the roof and parts of the hood, leaving the engine exposed.

A 911 call played in court from a witness who pulled Benjumea from the wreckage described an injured, disoriented and suicidal Benjumea wandering around the crash site. 

Court also saw surveillance video showing the Audi crash into the Starbucks before Benjumea fled the area by making his way through parking lots of several businesses along Calgary Trail.

Two women — Georgia Donovan, 21, and 20-year-old Emma Macarthur — as well as 32-year-old Faisal Yousef were killed in the crash and declared dead at the scene. Only Benjumea and Donovan were wearing seatbelts.

Benjumea was arrested 10 hours later at his home in southwest Edmonton and taken to hospital with cuts, a fractured arm, and broken fingers.

The sentencing hearing will continue Monday afternoon with victim impact statements. 

The sentence is not expected to be delivered until December.

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