Shamus MacKay

Jail time for Surrey hit-and-run that killed man

Jagjit Singh Basra sentenced to nine months jail for failing to stop when he struck 19-year-old Shamus MacKay.

A Surrey driver who did not stop after hitting and killing a teen five years ago has been sentenced to nine months in jail.

Jagjit Singh Basra, 37, was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster on Tuesday (Oct. 13).

He was found guilty in May of failing to stop his vehicle or offer assistance when the car he was driving in September 2010 struck pedestrian Shamus Travis William MacKay.

During the trial, the court heard that Basra and his girlfriend were driving home from a date when they heard a thud near Fraser Highway and 168 Street and saw the windshield was broken.

Basra, who had a suspended licence at the time, drove a bit further before stopping to let his girlfriend drive.

They both testified at trial they didn’t see what hit the car, but thought someone might have thrown a rock.

In fact, their car had hit MacKay while he was walking on Fraser Highway, his body thrown into a ditch after impact. A passenger in a passing car saw him, pulled him from the ditch and called 911.

McKay, 19, died about an hour later from blunt force trauma to the head.

Basra and his girlfriend drove further before stopping again. They called a relative and then booked an appointment with an emergency windshield repair service before taking a cab to Basra’s residence for the night.

In the morning, Basra awoke to news a pedestrian had been struck and killed on Fraser Highway. He had the window repaired, took the car to the body shop and at some point, called a lawyer, who contacted police.

Arrangements were made, but it took police several subsequent attempts to contact Basra’s lawyer before the driver turned himself in.

In the meantime, Shamus’s mom made an emotional public plea, urging the driver to come forward. She wept, saying Shamus was a gentle, “good guy” who would be the first to help if anyone was in trouble.

In convicting Basra, Justice Frits Verhoeven said the driver was “well-aware” of the possibility the collision had involved a person, but chose not to investigate.

“He did not do so because he did not want to learn the truth,” Verhoeven said.

Basra’s sentence also includes a five-year driving ban.