Trial begins for driver accused of killing mom and two children in horrific 2018 car crash
TORONTO -- As a trial begins for a man accused in a horrific car crash that killed a 12-year-old girl, as well as her seven-year-old friend and his mother, in Brampton, Ont. three years ago, a relative says she hopes no one forgets them.
Salvina Greco issued a tearful plea for safety on the road on Tuesday, saying she and her family are forever changed after her niece Julia Riccobene, Miles Jones and Miles’ mom Allison Jones were killed in a multi-vehicle crash on Highway 50 in 2018.
“You know how some teenagers hide their smiles? She smiled all the time. She loved her friends. There was always a commotion in the household. She was a joy. She was the light of the home. Now that light is gone. It’s a tremendous loss to our family,” said Greco.
The trial began on Tuesday, what would have been Miles’ 11th birthday, she said.
“Please be careful when you drive. These two children lost their lives. They won’t be able to grow up. Allison’s gone. Just be careful because you don’t know what can happen and what life you can take away,” Greco said.
Compounding the tragedy for Greco’s family is that Julia's father Angelo has since died of COVID-19, she said.
Accused Paul Manzon has pleaded not guilty to eight charges in connection with the fatal crash, including three counts of dangerous driving causing death, three counts of criminal negligence causing death, and one count each of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
A police interview played in court laid out the accusations against Manzon, with the investigating officer telling him his blue Corvette was seen travelling at a high rate of speed northbound on Highway 50 from Highway 427.
Jones’ SUV turned left at the intersection and was hit by the Corvette, the officer said. But downloadable data within the Corvette showed it was travelling so fast there was no way Jones could have expected the car to collide with her, the officer told Manzon in the recording.
“You’re taking the easy road,” the officer is heard saying. “The hard road is to sit in that chair and say, ‘God damn I wish it had never happened.’ The easy road is to say, ‘My lawyer told me not to say anything.’”
“If that’s the way you look at it, that’s the way it is. I’m not apologizing,” responds Manzon. “I’m done answering questions.”
A memorial still stands at the site of the crash, with flowers, teddy bears, and three pictures of the deceased.
Julia loved soccer, dance and figure skating, Greco said. Miles was learning Taekwondo, and loved to bake with his mom and sister, she added.
“This was a Saturday evening on a long weekend in the summer. It could have been anybody. It could have been any family on the street. But it was my family and the Jones family,” Greco said.
“Our families are affected for our whole lives. How do you go on when you lose someone like that? You don’t,” she said.
“We want justice. We want the public to know there are consequences when you drive like you’re on a racetrack. There are families on that road."
A publication ban that had barred media from reporting the names of those killed in the crash, as well as those injured in the crash, was vacated by Justice Nancy Dennison on Wednesday morning.