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Vancouver constable fined $2,000 for speeding after man run down

A Vancouver Provincial Court judge said Jack Zhao was doing 57 km/h in a 30 km/h zone.
A Vancouver Police Department officer has been fined $2,000 for speeding after hitting a man.

A Vancouver Police Department officer has been fined $2,000 for speeding after running someone over in the city’s Downtown Eastside.

Jack Zhao, 30, was charged with driving without due care and attention, failing to use due care to avoid a pedestrian and speeding in connection with the September 2022 incident where a man was injured on East Hastings.

Judge Jay Solomon said Zhao was doing 57 km/h in a 30 km/h zone.

“The speed was excessive and Const. Zhao has taken full responsibility for that,” the judge said.

About 3:20 a.m. on Sept. 20, 2022, a Vancouver police vehicle eastbound on East Hastings Street was involved in a collision with a man who was standing in the road between Columbia and Main streets, according to a July 24, 2023 statement on the case from the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of B.C.

“The man who was hit sustained serious injuries in the collision,” the IIO said.

Zhao, who had only just become a patrol officer, pleaded guilty to excessive speeding relative to conditions, a lesser, included offence under driving without due care and attention under B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act.

Zhao addressed the court before Solomon sentenced him May 3.

“I am truly, truly sorry for what happened,” Zhao told the court.

He said the incident is something that “will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

“I also want to apologize to the public for causing a distrust of police due to my actions, especially the vulnerable resident of the Downtown Eastside. I accept full responsibility for my actions.”

Lawyer Claire Hatcher told Solomon that Zhao “acknowledged “he was going a bit too fast.”

But, the lawyer said, neither the officer nor his partner noticed the man as he was backlit on an uphill section of the road.

Hatcher said Zhao did not see the man “until the very last minute.”

“It wasn’t a case of distraction,” she said.

Solomon said the victim was wearing dark clothes and standing in the street when the incident occurred.

“Unfortunately, Const. Zhao was driving too fast and didn’t see him in time,” the judge said.

The man suffered injuries to his face and required hospitalization.

“Const. Zhao was able to brake and there was a slight reduction in speed,” Hatcher said. “Hopefully, that helped a bit in what was a very unfortunate accident.”

She said Zhao wants to reach out to the victim and apologize.

Hatcher called Zhao a bright, compassionate officer with a good career ahead of him.

The IIO had filed a report with the BC Prosecution Service for consideration of charges.