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Drunk driver who killed cyclist Charles Masala in Burnaby was 2.5x over legal limit

Sumeet Mangat, 23, told woman he was arguing with over text he was going to get 'f***ed up' that day
The 24-year-old driver who killed Burnaby cyclist Charles Masala in a hit-and-run on Burnaby Mountain in June 2019 had a blood-alcohol level two-and-a-half times the legal limit and originally tried to pin the accident on a coworker who had been in the vehicle with him, according to facts read out in court.

Sumeet Mangat was in Vancouver provincial court Tuesday and pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death and leaving the scene of the crash that killed Masala on June 29, 2019.

Masala, a 53-year-old engineer and father of two young children, had been cycling beside Gaglardi Way just after 1:20 p.m. when a Jeep Cherokee speeding up Burnaby Mountain entered the bike lane and hit him, according to the agreed statement of facts.

An RCMP collision analyst determined Masala had been “ladled onto the hood of the Jeep” and thrown about 43 metres after hitting the windshield, the statement said.  

He died instantly.

Mangat, a car salesman at DriveCo Motors in Coquitlam at the time and the driver of the Jeep, had been in an argument over text message that day with a woman he was in a relationship with.

At 11:56 a.m., he had texted he was going to get “f***ed up,” and he was seen drinking a Nude Vodka Soda at work that morning.

At about 1 p.m., he left the car lot in the Jeep, which belonged to DriveCo, to get lunch with a coworker.

At first, they headed to Lougheed mall but then decided to try a new restaurant on Burnaby Mountain near SFU.

As he came to the end of the long curve at the base of Burnaby Mountain, Mangat encroached into the bike lane going between 71 and 85 kilometers per hour and hit Masala.

 “After the collision, Mr. Mangat initially slowed down but then sped up and continued up Burnaby Mountain,” read the statement.

Two people on top of Burnaby Mountain who saw the Jeep, which had been “obviously severely damaged,” called 911.

A security guard who had seen the crash site approached the Jeep and told Mangat and his coworker they should go back.

Mangat told him to “bounce,” according to the statement of facts.

He was arrested shortly before 2 p.m.

Twice he told police he hadn’t been the one driving.

“He said that his buddy that he worked with was driving,” read the statement.

Police found a 375-millilitre bottle of vodka, about two-thirds full, in the driver’s door pocket.

Mangat’s coworker said he had found another mickey in the Jeep with about 25 millilitres missing from it.

In two tests after the fatal crash, Mangat was found to have had blood-alcohol levels of 200 and 190 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

It took a year-and-a-half for charges against Mangat to be approved.

A date for his sentencing will now be set.

Masala’s widow, Michelle Masala, was in court Tuesday, and about a dozen close family members had dialled in to listen to the proceedings, but Judge Reginald Harris disconnected all those who were listening on the phone because someone had failed to mute their microphone.

Harris said it was “unfortunate” they were cut off.

“Out of respect for the accused and the court process, in the administration of justice, I had to guard against unwanted intrusions,” he said.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
Email [email protected]