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Charges laid in Burnaby hit-and-run that injured police dog service officers

Jason Kirupakaran, 32, has been charged in connection with a hit-and-run that injured two police officers in Burnaby's Big Bend area in March 2019.
hit-and-run charges2
Two officers with the police dog service were injured in a hit-and-run on North Fraser Way in March 2019. Neither of the officers has been able to return to work.

A 32-year-old Burnaby man has been charged in connection with a hit-and-run that injured two officers with the Lower Mainland Integrated Police Dog Service in Burnaby’s Big Bend area more than three years ago.

Police at the time said the incident began with a call about a possible drunk driver.

Burnaby RCMP got a report about a white, later model Toyota Camry with dark tinted windows just before 11:30 a.m. on March 4, 2019, spokesperson Cpl. Mike Kalanj told the NOW in 2019.

He said an officer had located the vehicle near Byrne Road and Marine Drive, but couldn’t see if anyone was inside because the windows were darkly tinted.

When the officer got out to take a look, however, the vehicle sped off on Byrne Road into oncoming traffic, according to Kalanj.

He said the officer didn’t give chase because the car took off on the wrong side of the road.

'We didn't think he was going to live'

Roberto Farinha, who said he had witnessed the crash from his office window at 4300 North Fraser Way, told the NOW in 2019 that he had been watching a group of officers with the dog unit standing outside one of their vehicles, which had been parked facing west on the north side of North Fraser Way.

A westbound semi, seeing the officers on the road, had slowed down, Farinha said, but another westbound vehicle blew past it on the right and plowed through them.

“Everybody was in shock. Nobody could believe what happened,” he said.

An officer who had been standing closer to the front of the vehicle was able to jump out of the way, according to Farinha, but the others were launched into the air, one as high as 15 feet.

“We didn’t think he was going to live,” Farinha said.

The white Camry was located about an hour after the crash, abandoned in an industrial area by Keith Street and Ivy Avenue.

It was reported stolen that day, according to police.

No service dogs were injured in the incident.

Charges

On May 26, more than three years after the crash, charges were laid against Jason Kirupakaran of Burnaby.

He faces two counts each of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and failing to stop after an accident causing bodily harm and one count of public mischief.

At a bail hearing in Vancouver provincial court on May 31, Crown prosecutor Mark Myhre described the offences as “very serious,” saying one of the officers will never return to work and the other has not yet returned to work three years after the incident.

“The two officers did suffer life-changing injuries,” Myhre said.

According to the allegations against him, Kirupakaran “drove recklessly” and plowed into the officers going over 100 km/h, Myhre said.

Kirupakaran then fled the scene and called police to say his car had been stolen, according to the alleged facts.

But defence lawyer Carmen Ochitwa said Kirupakaran “adamantly denies” he was the driver of the car.

He has not yet entered a plea on any of the charges.

Myhre noted Kirupakaran was convicted of drug trafficking 10 years ago and also had a “significant driving record” before the crash.

B.C. provincial court Judge Donna Senniw released Kirupakaran on a $1,000 promise to pay.

One of the conditions of his release is that he is prohibited from occupying the driver’s seat of any vehicle.

Kirupakaran was in court last Friday. His next appearance is scheduled for Aug. 19.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
Email cnaylor@burnabynow.com

 

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