Driver charged after mounting curb and fatally hitting 2 students; injuring a 3rdA Pickering man is facing multiple drunk driving-related charges after he allegedly mounted a curb in his car and hit three Centennial College international students, killing two of them, in Scarborough on Sunday evening.
Late Monday, the school identified the students killed as Damir Kussain, from Kazakhstan, and Wei Jie Zhu-Li, from China. Both were 19.
The third victim, Zhu-Li’s brother, remains in hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.
All three had been staying on campus over the holidays, the school said.
“There are approximately 250 Centennial students living on campus over the holiday break, many of them too far from home to make the trip,” the college said.
The students had been walking on the sidewalk of Progress Avenue, near the college’s local campus, just after 6:30 p.m. when they were hit.
Toronto police say the 40-year-old driver was intoxicated, speeding eastbound when he lost control, struck a guardrail and then slammed into the men. All three were taken to hospital, where Kussain and Wei Jie Zhu-Li, were pronounced dead.
‘The nicest guys you ever met’
Stuart O’Brien knew all three victims, but had a close relationship with Kussain.
“I go to the same college as them and I used to have tea with them and all that kind of stuff. They were the nicest guys you ever met,” O’Brien told CBC Toronto.
“They were loving people. They came from a place where they can’t really speak outright about what they believe in [but] they were loving, happy people.
O’Brien said he was very worried when he initially heard three students had been hurt in the accident. His worst fears were realized when the school released the names of the victims Monday afternoon.
“When I heard it was them, I sobbed and cried non-stop.”On-site grief counsellors will be made available to students, the college said.
“We ask that you keep the families and friends impacted by this tragedy in your thoughts. Let’s continue to move forward with compassion and support for each other,” it said in a statement.
The driver, Michael Johnson, was arrested at the scene. He has been charged with nine offences, including two counts of impaired driving causing death and one count of impaired driving causing bodily harm.
‘A devastating tragedy’: mayor
Mayor John Tory issued a statement Monday evening describing the incident as “a devastating tragedy to the Centennial College community and to the families and friends of these young students from China and Kazakhstan.”
“It is also an infuriatingly preventable loss of life and one every person in our society should be committed to preventing so that no family has to suffer this unspeakable loss,” he added.
Johnson appeared in court Monday morning.
Anyone with potentially useful information or dash cam video is asked to contact police or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers.
With files from Derick Deonarain
Source: CBC News