The officer who struck and killed an 18-year-old after she stepped off a Toronto bus in February 2014 had been following a person of interest suspected to be part of a group stealing perfume from Shoppers Drug Mart stores, a jury heard Tuesday.
Const. Reemo Romano is being tried on a charge of dangerous driving causing death, more than two years after Natasha Carla Abogado was struck and killed as she stepped off a bus at Warden Avenue and St. Clair Avenue East.
York Region police Det. Bill Newtown said Romano was part of a group of officers conducting surveillance when his unmarked car, travelling at 115 km an hour in a 60 km zone, struck Abogado.
“Yes safety is important. But sometimes people are just trying to do their jobs,” Newton told the court.
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The jury was also shown a video of Abogado on the bus in the moments before her death.
Abogado, who was heading home from work, was just steps away from her family’s home when she was struck.
Police later confirmed the vehicle involved in the accident was a Ford F-150 painted black with tinted windows driven by Romano, who was on duty at the time.
At court, the driver of the bus said Abogado said goodbye under her breath just before stepping off.
Dean Goode said he believed Abogado might try to jaywalk across St. Clair Avenue, but he wasn’t concerned about that.
“People do it all the time. There’s no problem doing it as long as you’re aware of your surroundings and you do it with a sense of urgency,” he said.
But the bus driver testified that after hearing what had happened, he did have a bad feeling .
“I just had a feeling that she might be the woman in trouble … To this day I can’t explain why I thought it was this young lady,” he told the jury.
About 30 minutes after Abogado got off his bus, Goode received a text from TTC transit control saying St. Clair was closed in both directions.
Romano was later charged with dangerous driving causing death.
Abogado’s family filed a $2.2-million civil lawsuit against the York Regional Police.
More testimony is expected this week.