A ‘kick to the stomach’: family of teen killed in a crosswalk outraged by driver’s plan to plead not guilty
The driver revealed in court that she is planning to dispute the charge, and believes the incident was “a terrible, terrible accident,” her lawyer says.
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The family of a teen killed by a driver in a Saanich crosswalk just over one year ago is devastated by the driver’s plans not to plead guilty.
“It just really feels like an absolute kick to the stomach,” said Kaydence Bourque’s aunt, Sherri Edwards, through tears. “I can't explain the level of trauma.”
Kaydence,16, was struck by the driver of a pickup truck around 9:45pm on Dec. 6, 2021 while crossing in a marked crosswalk at the intersection of Cedar Hill Cross Road and Merriman Drive. He never regained consciousness and died the next day.
As per his own pre-affirmed wishes, the teen’s organs were donated to six people.
His mother and her two siblings attended a court appearance on Wednesday morning for the driver who killed him.
Margarita Citron, who is in her early 70s, faces one charge under the Motor Vehicle Act, driving without due care—a violation that comes with a $368 fine and six demerit points. In court, a judge can impose larger fines and the possibility of prison time.
But Citron’s lawyer, Jerry Steele, said a prison term is unlikely.
He said Citron, who remained at the scene and does not dispute that she was driving the vehicle, has not yet entered a plea and will appear again in court Feb. 1. His client’s position is that the incident was “a terrible, terrible accident” and he said “she is not pleading guilty.”
That’s a shock to Kaydence’s family, who had anticipated she would accept the charge.
“The way I view it is, a vehicle can be used as a weapon. And if you use a weapon and you kill someone, you are charged with that,” Edwards said. “If I was out in a park playing with a gun and I happened to shoot it off, and I accidentally killed someone, do you think I’d get a fine for that?”
Devin Edwards, Kaydence’s uncle, said the family is close-knit, and the three siblings live close to one another. He said a trial would prolong his family’s pain—particularly that of Crystal Bourque, the teen’s mother.
“As hard as this has been for us, who loved and spent a lot of time with Kaydence, Crystal was one of the first people on the scene. I think every parent, their stomach drops just even entertaining the idea of it.
“I don’t think Crystal will ever be the same,” he added. “I don’t think anybody could be after such a thing.”
In a statement to Capital Daily, Bourque said the charge Citron faces over her son’s death is “nowhere near justice worthy for killing a child.”
“Because of her I have not worked for the past year, after being diagnosed with PTSD. Our family is broken and full of pain and sorrow because of this tremendous loss.”
Kaydence’s family cannot pursue a wrongful death trial in civil court because the Family Compensation Act, which allows for damages claims from close family members, applies only to economic losses. In other words, they could seek compensation if Kaydence had been a financial contributor to his family. The law does not compensate for grief or emotional distress.
Even if Kaydence had survived, his family would have very little recourse due to a no-fault insurance policy introduced in 2021 that prevents people injured in motor vehicle crashes from taking at-fault drivers to court, except in cases where the driver received criminal charges—something that didn’t happen in Kaydence’s case.
Under ICBC’s enhanced care, they can access predetermined death benefits covering funeral expenses and grief counseling as well as lump sum payments of $15,336 per parent.
It’s a loss that no amount of money could fix, Edwards said, but the lack of options is devastating to the family.
“I fail to see the logic in this in any capacity,” she said.
Bourque and her siblings painted a picture of Kaydence as a teen with a big heart and a love for music, his sister and life.
“Kaydence was a spectacular person,” she wrote. “He was wise beyond his years and was always happy and smiling. He was kind and generous to everyone around him and was always making people laugh.”
She said Kaydence hoped to earn scholarships for university and become an engineer or lawyer.
“He had so much more to do in this life but [the driver] cut it short because of her failure to stop for a child in a crosswalk.”