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Calgary man pleads guilty in crash that killed woman out on a work break

CALGARY — A Calgary man who wasn't supposed to drive because of a brain tumour has pleaded guilty in a crash that killed a mother of three who was out for a walk while on a break from work.

Anjna Sharma was killed in May 2017 when James Beagrie's truck collided with a car near a mall in the city's northeast after he lost consciousness.

Court heard the truck then mounted the curb and hit Sharma, who was dragged a short distance.

Beagrie, who is 47, was charged with criminal negligence causing death.

But he pleaded guilty at the start of his trial to the lesser charge of dangerous driving causing death.

An agreed statement of facts said Beagrie was told by his family doctor three weeks before the crash that he shouldn’t be driving because he had a brain tumour and needed to see a neurologist.

“At least there is admission on his part to some extent," Suneet Sharma, who was married to Anjna for 24 years, said outside Court of Queen's Bench on Monday.

“When (your) life partner leaves, it's not that easy. Also my kids are having difficulties adjusting to the life that they are put into."

The youngest of the couple's three children, Archisha Sharma, 15, said the siblings miss their mother terribly.

"I cry every day just looking at her photo as she's smiling, and I just think why can’t I see that," said the 15-year-old. "I miss her warmth. I need my mom."

The Crown agreed that the lesser charge "more accurately reflected what occurred in this matter,” defence lawyer Allan Fay said outside court. 

The agreed statement of facts said Beagrie had been informed in January 2013 that he had a benign brain tumour and had to see a neurosurgeon annually. 

On Feb. 17, 2017, he was involved in a single-vehicle crash in Drumheller, Alta., after blacking out behind the wheel. Beagrie underwent a CT scan, which showed the tumour had grown. 

That May, Beagrie received a letter from Alberta Transportation advising him that his licence would be suspended in June.

“He should have known that he's putting other people’s lives at risk. It’s painful, frustrating ...the way that people take it for granted other people’s lives,” said Suneet Sharma.

Beagrie is currently out on bail. A date for a sentencing hearing has yet to be set. (CTV Calgary)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2020.

The Canadian Press




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