The family of a beloved Toronto grandmother remains outraged after a Canadian court handed down a fine of $400 to the businesswoman who killed her.
That is Canadian dollars. In U.S. currency, the fine would be about $379.
As if the paltry fine was not enough, the Canadian justice of the peace overseeing court proceedings admonished the victim’s son for speaking out in court, telling him that his mom’s killer had suffered just as much as he had.
Fen Shi (pictured) emigrated to Toronto from China in 1999 to help her son, John Pan, raise his first child. She lived in her son’s home until recently when she found her own apartment. On Sept. 10 of last year, the 75-year-old Fen was walking along Toronto’s Bayview Avenue on her way to a make a social call on a friend.
According to court testimony reported in Canadian media, as Fen walked along the street on that clear autumn morning, 54-year-old corporate vice president Ann Wyganowski had just finished a visit to her chiropractor and was pulling out of the driveway of the practitioner’s office.
Wyganowski looked left but failed to see Fen crossing. She pulled out of the driveway, struck the elderly woman then ran her over and kept driving, apparently not realizing what had just happened. Drivers who witnessed the tragedy honked madly, getting her attention and returning her to where she hit Fen.
Wyganowski, an executive at a firm that helps companies prepare for disasters, was charged with careless driving, the most serious traffic offense under Ontario law. But she agreed to forgo a trial and plead guilty to a lesser “failure to yield” charge. Her attorney attempted to prevent Pan from reading a victim impact statement aloud, because, the lawyer said, Wyganowski was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
When Pan read his statement describing how Wyganowski “killed” his mother, Alfred Johnston, presiding over the court, scolded him for using the word “killed.”