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'Reckless in the extreme': Lamborghini driver convicted for crash while passing Toronto streetcar

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A Lamborghini driver who tried to pass a Toronto streetcar at three times the speed limit, striking several parked cars and totalling his own vehicle, has been found guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

The judgment was handed down to mortgage broker Jason Georgopoulos in a downtown courtroom last month, along with a stern rebuke from Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy.

“Mr. Georgopoulos was joy riding and showing off, both for the benefit of his young assistant and to impress people along the way who would be envious of his fancy car,” Molloy said in a judgment last month.

Georgopoulos walked away from the 2021 crash but his passenger suffered life-changing injuries.

“He was treating one of the busiest and most congested streets in the city like a roller coaster to give his young passenger a thrill,” Molloy said.

An exhibit from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The streetcar’s surveillance video, filed as an exhibit in the criminal case, shows the headlights of Georgopoulos’s blue Lamborghini rush towards the streetcar in the right-hand lane going eastbound on Queen Street at Maclean Avenue, just east of Woodbine Avenue.

The streetcar’s side camera shows the car as a blur as it races by, but the front camera shows the moment Georgopoulos doesn’t make it – his car hits a parked Jeep and Mercedes and crumples, sending debris flying into the street.

The police investigation found the car had been going a maximum of 112 km/h, more than three times the speed limit of that section of Queen Street, which is immediately in front of Georgopoulos’s office.

Before the crash at about 9 p.m., the car’s top was down and witnesses saw it hanging back and then accelerating, its occupants appearing to enjoy the car’s performance, Molloy wrote.

Georgopoulos shared ownership of the car with a friend in California, Justice Molloy wrote, and the pair split the $400,000 loan and the $8,000 monthly payments. By the time the crash happened, he had the car for just three days.

Georgeopoulos told the court he had a spotty memory of the crash because of a concussion. He said he had no memory of reckless driving, but did say he accidentally changed gears which would explain the sudden acceleration and also said he thought the streetcar would stop and let him by.

The judge didn’t buy that as an excuse, calling Georgeopoulos’s testimony “neither credible nor reliable” and instead saying those false impressions underscored how unprepared Georgeopoulos was to operate a car of that speed.

“The manner of driving was a grave threat to the safety of pedestrians and other vehicular traffic … no reasonably prudent driver would undertake to pass a streetcar in these circumstances at anything close to that speed. It was reckless conduct in the extreme,” Molloy wrote.

“Streetcars don’t stop to let drivers pass. That’s ludicrous,” said Jess Spieker of Friends and Families for Safe Streets in an interview.

Spieker said she believes drivers of extremely fast cars should face extra licensing requirements.

“The fact that he’s driving a car which he’s clearly not equipped to handle, is probably a failure of our provincial licensing system,” she said.

Toronto Councillor Dianne Saxe, who is on the TTC board, said in an interview she would support extra licensing requirements, but said it would be up to the provincial government to implement it.

“Certainly we don’t have Lamborghinis being driven into streetcars very often. That is a good thing,” she said, pointing out that a streetcar weighs “53 hippos.”

“They’re really solid. So if you’ve got a very expensive fragile bubble, don’t smash it into a streetcar,” she said.

It’s not clear whether Georgopoulos has to pay the cost of the crash. His passenger is now suing him for $5 million.

In the statement of claim, his passenger said she suffered multiple injuries including a “panfacial smash injury” and “multiple abrasions, lacerations, contusions, traumatic neurosis, serious shock to her system and a general tearing of the muscles and ligaments throughout her body.

“The Plaintiff’s usual activities of daily living have been severely compromised and will remain compromised for the balance of her life,” the claim says.

Georgeopoulos didn’t return calls from CTV News; his lawyer said he would not speak at least until his sentencing hearing in September.

In a statement, Councillor Jamaal Myers, who chairs the TTC board, said, “Reckless driving of any kind endangers everyone on our streets. There is no place for such behavior in our City. The driver’s behaviour led to serious injuries of his passenger and endangered a TTC employee and our customers.

“This case underscores the importance of driver safety and strict adherence to traffic laws. Unfortunately, all too often, we have seen other incidents and near-misses over the years with drivers attempting to pass streetcars in unsafe manners. Passing open streetcar doors has long been against the law,” the statement said.

“In 2021, the province enacted new road-safety legislation, which cleared the way for automated ticketing of people passing open doors similar to red-light cameras. That project is ongoing, with the next phase being to procure a technology-based solution, which is underway.”

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