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Drunk driver in head-on Burnaby collision gets conditional sentence, driving ban

'It is fortunate that, even though the impact was serious on the (victims') family, that there weren't any catastrophic injuries or death,' a Vancouver judge said about a December 2022 crash on Canada Way caused by New Westminster drunk driver Tejinder Nannar, 56.
Police Tape GettyImages
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A 56-year-old driver who was too drunk to stand without help after veering into oncoming traffic and slamming head on into another vehicle in Burnaby a year ago has been handed a one-year conditional sentence and a one-year driving ban.

New Westminster resident Tejinder Nannar pleaded guilty in Vancouver provincial court Monday to one count of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

At about 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 2, 2022, he drove his Toyota Camry down the hill on Canada Way, veered over the double-solid yellow line and collided head on with an oncoming Mazda3, according to agreed facts presented at the hearing.

The driver of the Mazda said he slammed on his brakes when he saw Camry veer into his lane, but "Nannar just drove straight into his vehicle without attempting to stop," Crown prosecutor Louise Gauld told the court.

Police said Nannar told them he hadn't had any alcohol, but there was "extreme liquor" on his breath and open alcohol spilled on the passenger seat, according to Gauld.

His speech was slurred and he couldn't balance and had difficulty walking without help, she said.

He failed two breath tests, registering a blood alcohol level of nearly three times the legal limit.

In a victim impact statement, the driver of the other vehicle – a father who had been driving his 11-year-old son to basketball practice – said the crash had "profoundly" affected their lives.

Nannar did not have a previous criminal record at the time of the crash, but Gauld noted he had been issued alcohol-related driving suspensions in 2015, 2018, 2019 and 2022.

The Crown called for a one-year conditional sentence (a jail sentence served in the community) with house arrest, 50 hours of community work service and a $1,000 fine.

Gauld said Nannar should also be prohibited from driving for 18 months.

Defence lawyer Kyla Lee agreed with the proposed sentence except the driving ban, which she said should be for one year.

She noted Nannar, a married father of three grown children, has been sober since the crash

After her submissions, Nannar apologized to the court.

"I'm very sorry about this," he said.

B.C. provincial court Judge Harbans Dhillon ultimately sided with Lee on the driving ban, imposing a one-year prohibition along with the one-year conditional sentence.

Dhillon described the crash as a "very serious collision."

"It is fortunate that, even though the impact was serious on the (victims') family, that there weren't any catastrophic injuries or death as a result of the manner of driving of Mr. Nannar," she said.

Dhillon said Nannar's level of intoxication and his driving record were aggravating factors but noted he had pleaded guilty, taken responsibility, worked towards rehabilitation and had strong family support.

In imposing the 12-month driving ban, Dhillon said a longer prohibition would interfere with his employment as an operator at Deltaport, his rehabilitation and his community work service.

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