The Burnaby driver allegedly responsible for killing a New Westminster teen and injuring her companion on a Delta highway in 2018 is scheduled to plead guilty to dangerous driving causing death.
Olivia Malcom, 19, was coming home from a lacrosse game with her boyfriend and a friend on June 2, 2018 when she was killed.
They had pulled off the shoulder on Hwy. 17A in Delta, and she and her friend had gotten out to check for something in the trunk.
The pair were standing behind their vehicle when a Jeep slammed into them from behind.
Malcom, who was just a few days shy of her 20th birthday, was killed. Her friend suffered undisclosed injuries that police described as not life-threatening.
The driver of the Jeep remained at the scene.
More than a year later, in August 2019, Burnaby resident Chao Chen, then 44 years old, was charged with impaired driving causing death and impaired driving with a blood alcohol level over 80 milligrams causing death.
A two-week trial was expected to start today, but Chen is now scheduled to plead guilty to dangerous driving causing death in Surrey provincial court today, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison, according to Court Services Online. The other two charges are expected to be stayed, according to Chen's lawyer.
“Olivia was taken from us without warning,” Bridget Malcom, Olivia’s mother, said in a police news release when Chen’s charges were announced. “Our next steps are to ensure that our family gets justice for Olivia and that the driver is held accountable for his actions.”
Malcom was born and raised in New Westminster.
Following her death, a GoFundMe campaign raised more than $110,000 for the Olivia Malcom Kindness Bursary.
The inaugural bursaries were awarded to two New Westminster students in 2019.
“For it to far exceed $100,000 was beyond astonishing to us,” Bridget said of the fundraising campaign in Malcom’s honour. “We had no idea that there would be such an outpouring of love towards our daughter.”
On June 10, 2019 family, friends and community gathered outside Queen’s Park Arena to remember Olivia on what would have been her 21st birthday.
A memorial bench was also unveiled outside the arena, where Malcom and her family had spent many years watching, playing, coaching and refereeing lacrosse games.
*CORRECTION: This story has been updated as the original stated that Chen had pleaded guilty to the two original. This was incorrect.
- With files from Theresa Mcmanus