Teen often raced cars, crown says
Accused granted bail in collision that injured three
Peel/ Halton Bureau Chief
A Mississauga teenager, charged after three people were injured and a woman’s 6- month- old fetus was killed in a street race, regularly races his father’s car, the crown has told a court.
Alexandru Bejinariu, 18, was placed under house arrest yesterday after being released into his parents’ custody on $60,000 bail.
The teen turned himself in to Peel Region police Tuesday night, a say after the street- racing collision in Mississauga. He is charged with three counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and failing to remain at the scene of an accident. Charged were not laid stemming from the death of the fetus.
The accident occurred during a high- speed race on Dundas St. W. near Winston Churchill Blvd. at about 8:30pm Monday, police say. A Pontiac Firebird, which police say was a racing Chrysler Intrepid, crashed into a Ford Explorer making a left- hand turn at the intersection.
At a bail hearing held without a publication ban yesterday, Crown Attorney John Raftery urged Brampton Justice of the Peace John Farnum to deny bail, saying the accused’ girlfriend told police he street raced “Twice a week,” usually on highways but sometimes on city streets.
“This really isn’t an isolated incident,” Raftery told the court, adding the public’s safety demanded that a detention order be issued.
But defence lawyer Gary Batasar says although the circumstances of his client’s arrest “were unfortunate,” he urged the court not to find the girlfriend’s testimony “truthful” until it was tested in court.
Farnum agreed and granted the teen’s release, but only after imposing strict conditions.
The teen, who has been driving for 18 months, must surrender his driver’s licence and is prohibited from getting behind the wheel of any motorized vehicle until his case is completed. Farnum ordered Bejinariu to remain in his parents’ home at all times, except for school, employment and legal visits or if accompanied by his parents. His parents must drive him anywhere he goes.
During the hearing, Raftery said a witness told police that a 1998 Intrepid and a 1986 Firebird were “revving their engines” as they waited side by side at Ridgeway Dr. on Dundas St. W. on Monday. The two vehicles then sped away, and police estimate they entered the intersection at Dundas and Winston Churchill on an amber light, heading east at 120km/h, double the speed limit.
Raftery said the Intrepid entered the intersection ahead of the Firebird and “narrowly missed” hitting a westbound Ford Explorer that was waiting to turn left on to southbound Winston Churchill.
But the Firebird smashed into the passenger side of the Explorer, the crown said.
Galena Shelepen, 21, who was six months pregnant, suffered a broken arm and abdominal injuries, and underwent an emergency caesarean section, but her fetus was stillborn. Her partner, Alexei Zoubkov, 35, who was driving the Explorer, suffered a broken leg. Both remain in stable condition at Credit Valley Hospital.
The 16- year- old driver of the Firebird remains in hospital with leg, arm and abdominal injuries. Bejinariu is to appear in court again tomorrow.
This was the second high speed street race in three days in Mississauga. On Saturday night, two men died instantly after a collision during a race on Burnhamthorpe Rd.