Canada

Sentencing arguments heard in case of woman who drove into D.D.O. house

Scales of justice Mariusz Szczygiel / Fotolia

Sentencing arguments were heard in a Montreal court Monday afternoon for a woman who drove into someone’s house in D.D.O. at 135 km/hour — while three children were asleep upstairs — causing $350,000 in damages.

The incident took place just after midnight Dec. 1, 2013, but has taken this long to get through the court system, in part because the woman, Melinda Kazandjian, now 29, was finishing her master’s degree in law in California.

She pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving in November 2017, but her lawyer argued that given the possibility she be sentenced to jail time, she should be allowed to finish her degree first.

The Crown is arguing for a nine to 12-month prison term for dangerous driving. Kazandjian’s lawyer wants a conditional discharge, with 240 hours of community service and a one-year ban on driving. 

Among those who testified Monday was the former owner of the house, who along with her partner and children were not injured in the crash, but had to exit the house through the upstairs windows because Kazandjian had knocked out the inside staircase.

The car, in fact, came to a full stop only once it had gone down the stairs to the basement. 

Rachel Toledado told the court she had only just gone up the stairs to her bedroom when 30 seconds later “a missile” or “explosion” was heard, followed by horns and screaming and smoke filling the air. 

Toledano looked down where the stairs used to be and saw a car in her house. 

She went to retrieve the kids in their rooms — ages 2, 4 and 6 — and eventually handed them over to firefighters on the roof, she said breaking down in court. 

More details to come. 

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