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Driver who killed Saanich teen fined $2,000, prohibited from driving for six months

Margarita Citron had pleaded guilty to careless driving under the Motor Vehicle Act

The driver who struck and killed 16-year-old Kaydence Bourque in a crosswalk on Cedar Hill Cross Road in Saanich almost two years ago has been fined $2,000 and is prohibited from driving for six months.

Margarita Citron pleaded guilty Tuesday in Victoria provincial court to careless driving under the Motor Vehicle Act.

Citron, 72, was driving home on Dec. 6, 2021 when she hit the Grade 11 Reynolds Secondary School student in the crosswalk at Cedar Hill Cross Road and Merriman Drive.

The teen, who played saxophone in the concert and jazz bands, had just gotten off a bus near his home on Merriman Drive after working an evening shift at the Market On Yates, where he had bagged groceries and stocked shelves for two years. His family donated his organs to help eight other ­people.

During the sentencing hearing, Kaydence’s mother, Crystal Bourque, said the grief she has felt since his death has been devastating. Kaydence was an incredible human being who was wise beyond his 16 years, she said.

“He was kind and generous to everyone around him and was always making people laugh. He had no problem buying someone lunch or paying for a friend. … Kaydence was always telling jokes to his friends and family and always trying to make people laugh,” she said.

“My heart breaks daily knowing I will never be told another funny story or be surprised with a random gift or groceries ‘just ’cause’ as he used to say. Most of all, his laugh I will never hear again. That was the best part of my day. That was ripped from my life.”

Bourque has not returned to work since Kaydence died. She has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and experiences flashbacks of the collision that took place 30 metres from her front door.

Bourque told the court she had a sick feeling in her stomach when Kaydence was late ­coming home that night. She noticed the flashing lights of a police car and ran out of the house to see her son lying face down, 10 metres from the crosswalk.

“This plays over and over in my head. I do not sleep and when I do I have nightmares,” she said.

Bourque said her life will never be the same — she has missed out on all the future trips, birthdays and Christmases with her son. “All those moments have been stolen from us and thinking of it brings me to tears all the time.”

She said her teenage daughter, Ahria, has been hurt and traumatized by the loss of her brother, only sibling and best friend.

In the days following Kaydence’s death, there was a public outcry. Protests were held calling on Saanich to improve safety along the corridor leading to the crosswalk.

Saanich public works crews installed a new street light above the crosswalk and replaced round flashing beacons with rectangular rapid-flashing ones.

Crews also installed new delineators, or plastic bollards, along Cedar Hill Cross Road, providing separation from the road and asphalt sidewalk. A “crosswalk ahead” sign and “single-file” signs for cyclists were installed at both approaches.

In February 2022, Saanich council adopted the international Vision Zero goal of eliminating all traffic injuries and fatalities. The district is in the process of creating a road safety action plan, spokesperson Kelsie McLeod said last month.

A traffic study of the 2.1-kilometre stretch of Cedar Hill Cross Road from McKenzie Avenue to Ophir Street is underway to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists.

Earlier this year, the district received 841 responses to its survey about that stretch of road.

The speed limit has also been reduced to 40 km/h from 50 km/h.

ldickson@timescolonist.com