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Driver guilty of Burnaby hit-and-run that seriously injured police dog officers

Jason Kirupakaran's sister helped identify him as the driver of a car that fled the scene after causing 'life-altering injuries' to two police dog handlers in Burnaby in March 2019. 'Bitches get stitches' he said in a text to her later.
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Two police dog officers were injured in a hit-and-run crash on North Fraser Road in Burnaby in March 2019.

A man who kept driving after plowing into two police dog handlers with his car in Burnaby nearly five years ago has been found guilty of two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and two counts of failing to stop at an accident causing bodily harm.

Jason Kirupakaran, 34, was charged in May 2022 for the March 2019 incident.

On March 4, 2019, Burnaby RCMP got a report of a possible drunk driver in a white, later model Toyota Camry with dark tinted windows.

Police located the vehicle near Byrne Road and Marine Drive, but it sped off on Byrne Road.

A short time later, just before noon, officers with the Lower Mainland police dog service were outside of their vehicles at 4300 North Fraser Way after a training exercise.

A westbound semi, seeing the officers on the road, slowed down, according to a witness interviewed by the NOW in 2019, but another westbound vehicle, a white Toyota Camry, blew past it on the right and plowed through them.

Two officers were hit and sustained "life-changing injuries," according to police. 

The Camry, registered to Kirupakaran, was found abandoned at 5489 Byrne Rd. 10 minutes after the crash, according to information presented at a trial in September.

Kirupakaran didn't deny his vehicle had been involved in the crash but said he wasn't the driver.

He said the car had been stolen.

But there was video evidence of a man leaving the Camry where it was abandoned, and Kirupakaran's sister identified that man to police as her brother.

She testified she later got a text message from her brother telling her "bitches will get stiches."

Kirupakaran denied the message was from him, but B.C. provincial court Judge Andrea Brownstone said she was satisfied, based on his sister's testimony, the content of the messages and the fact the phone number was associated with him, that he had sent it.

Brownstone ultimately found Kirupakaran guilty on all counts.

She noted cell phone records that showed his phone had connected with cellphone towers in a path that mirrored the path of the Camry during the relevant times.

Brownstone also noted descriptions by eye witnesses, Kirupakaran's sister's recognition evidence and the fact clothing and a bag found at his apartment linked him to the incident.

"Given the overwhelming evidence presented by the Crown, I am satisfied that, when considered as a whole, there is no other rational explanation than that the accused, who was the owner and principal driver of the Camry, was driving at the time it hit the two police officers," Brownstone said.

Kirupakaran's next court date is scheduled for Feb. 12 to fix a date for sentencing.

Burnaby RCMP commented on the conviction in a news release Tuesday.

"While this does not take away the pain and suffering these injured officers continue to experience, we hope this development will provide some measure of comfort as they continue to focus on their ongoing recovery and healing," Chief Supt. Graham de la Gorgendiere said.

De la Gorgendiere said police had worked "tirelessly" throughout the lengthy and comprehensive investigation that led to the charges against Kirupakaran.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
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