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North Vancouver man pleads guilty in drunk driving death

The accused had drunk more than a bottle of wine and was driving at more than 180 km/h at the time.
Marcelina Agulay, who died in a head-on crash in North Vancouver, is pictured in this undated photo with her husband Leonilo, who suffered life-threatening injuries. | GoFundMe

A North Vancouver man has pleaded guilty to two charges in the 2021 impaired driving death and serious injury of a woman and her husband on Low Level Road.

Burnaby resident Marcelina Agulay, died soon after the March 2, 2021, crash when Andre Lukat crossed the centre line in his Audi and struck Agulay’s vehicle head-on. Agulay’s husband Leonilo, whom she was driving home from work, sustained traumatic injuries. He lingered for a few months before dying in June of that year.

In March 2022, the Crown swore charges against Lukat, 46. He pleaded guilty in North Vancouver provincial court Thursday to one count of impaired driving causing death and one count of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

Crown prosecutor Kevin Masse read out an agreed statement of facts, which Lukat had signed off on.

At the time of the crash, Lukat was coming home from a business meeting in Fort Langley where he’d had “in excess” of one bottle of wine, the court heard.

Around 11:07 p.m., his vehicle was captured on a Low Level Road surveillance camera travelling at more than 180 kilometres per hour, just moments before the crash.

As he approached the curve in the road at the foot of St. Davids Avenue, he crossed over the centre line and crashed into the Agulays' Volkswagen.

The Audi burst into flames and the Volkswagen was rammed up against the barrier, preventing it from falling to the railyard below. Witnesses called 911 and pulled the injured from their vehicles.

Lukat was left with a fractured wrist, patella and sternum, the court heard, as well as a laceration to the leg, and blood trauma to the liver.

Agulay suffered blunt force cardiac arrest, the Crown said, and multiple injuries to her lower body. She died in an ambulance on route to Lions Gate Hospital. Her husband had traumatic brain injuries. During the moments when he was lucid, he was depressed over the loss of his wife, the Crown said. He was in hospital until April 29, 2021. He was found deceased at home just over a month later, due to complications from malnutrition and dehydration, the court heard.

She was 65. He was 66.

A blood sample taken from Lukat while he was in hospital found 147 to 168 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, Masse said, which works out to a blood alcohol level of 0.15 to 0.2 per cent.

“The accused admits that his ability to operate a conveyance was impaired by alcohol at the time of the collision, and that he caused the death of Marcelina and that he caused bodily harm to Leonilo,” Masse said.

The son and daughter of the victims were in court for the guilty plea.

Agulay was a labour activist and advocate for migrant workers in farming, caregiving, and food preparation. She drew tributes from Premier John Horgan and other NDP government members who praised her in the legislature following her death.

Lukat is due back in court for a sentencing hearing in the new year.

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