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Woman pleads not guilty to Canada Day driving death

A woman accused of killing a motorcyclist on Canada Day in Langford will challenge the allegation that she was driving while impaired.

Tracy Smith, 35, has pleaded not guilty dangerous driving causing death and impaired driving causing death. She has chosen a trial by supreme court judge alone.

Janarthan Mahenthiran, 47, died when an oncoming southbound Lexus crossed the line and hit his Yamaha FZ-1 head-on on the Trans-Canada Highway, just north of the Spencer interchange bridge. He died at the scene.

In court today, Smith’s lawyer Robert Jones said his client admits to being the operator and owner of the Lexus, and that Mahenthiran died at the scene due to the trauma of the collision.

Jones will challenge the Crown’s allegation that Smith was impaired at the time of the incident and was driving erratically. Jones will also examine details surrounding how West Shore RCMP collected evidence of Smith’s alleged impairment.

A date for a preliminary hearing has yet to be set. The Crown expects to call at least 15 witnesses over two days.

Smith, of Victoria, has a history of abusing drugs and alcohol, and was released in July to VisionQuest addiction recovery centre in Surrey.

Mahenthiran, an avid motorcyclist who worked in information technology, had only lived in Victoria for about a year before his death. His wife and family live in Toronto.

On Canada Day, he opted to cruise up-Island alone on what was a bright, sunny day instead of with a large group ride planned for the afternoon.

Motorcyclist Dave Adams of Cowichan Bay, who attends every hearing on this case at Western Communities Courthouse, was one of the first on the scene and gave first aid to Mahenthiran prior to emergency responders arriving.

In July, Adams told the Gazette that Mahenthiran was still in his lane. "He hit her car right in the middle. She was in his lane, not just over the line.”

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

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