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'Love of my life': Speeding driver who killed Burnaby pedestrian hears from family

Louise Landreth was killed on June 7, 2019 near Brentwood Mall while out for a walk
RCMP and other first responders were called to the scene of a fatal accident near Burnaby's Brentwood Mall on June 7, 2019.

A man who pleaded guilty in the 2019 drunk driving death of a pedestrian in Burnaby should go to prison for four to five years, a B.C. Supreme Court judge heard Jan. 11.

Roberto Francisco, 41, has pleaded guilty to negligent driving causing the death of Louise Landreth, 69.

The Harrington, Ont. grandmother died after being struck by a speeding BMW driven by Francisco in the 4100 block of Lougheed Highway. Francisco was charged with criminal negligence causing death and impaired driving causing death.

Landreth had been out for a walk near her son Gavin Landreth’s home that June 7, 2019.

The court heard of several reports from various Burnaby areas of a BMW driving erratically, very fast and being in the wrong lane. At one point, the BMW forced a bus and a tanker truck to take evasive actions.

The court saw videos from the front and rear cameras of a witness’ car. One showed the BMW racing past at a high rate of speed in the curb lane; another showed the crash that claimed Landreth’s life.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police estimated Francisco, a Mercedes mechanic with a passenger, was doing 167 km/h at the time of the accident near Brentwood Mall.

Crown prosecutor Mark Myhre said the driver “was driving like a maniac” on Kingsway, Willingdon and Lougheed.

A paramedic who took Francisco to hospital reported a strong odour of liquor. His blood alcohol level was later found to be almost twice the legal limit.

Myhre said Francisco “drove callously” throughout Burnaby and in residential areas with disregard for the safety of Burnaby people.

In one of many family victim impact statements, Gavin told Justice Janet Winteringham he heard the crash and loud bangs of the accident from his nearby home.

Gavin called his mother’s phone to check on her.

He said after “three hours of excruciating pain,” the RCMP arrived to tell him of her death.

“Why? Why did it have to be her?” he asked “Our lives were forever turned upside down.”

“You do not know the magnitude of what you have done to our family,” Gavin said to Francisco, who repeatedly covered his face and crossed himself during the virtual hearing.

“We were all robbed of feeling my mom’s soft touch again,” daughter Shannon Landreth said. “I would give anything in the world to feel that again.”

“I will never, ever, ever wake up from this nightmare that I never asked for,” Shannon added.

The court heard that with Louise gone, her husband Doug could no longer look after the family house the couple had built.

“Our home was full of love and good times that Louise created out of love,” he said in a statement read by daughter Jocelyn as he looked on.

At that point, Francisco walked off screen; Winteringham prompted defence lawyer Kevin Westell to have him return.

“She was the love of my life,” Doug’s statement continued. “I miss her every day.”

Other family members spoke of their ongoing grief, the heart-wrenching pain of Louise’s loss and her love of family.

Francisco apologized to the family and to the community for what he called his “shameful actions.”

“I cannot begin to describe how remorseful I am,” he said. “I know I will never be able to forgive myself.”

Myhre also asked for a 10-year driving prohibition.

Francisco’s lawyer agreed on the prohibition but suggested a two-year sentence.

The case had a preliminary hearing and was set to go to trial before Francisco entered the guilty plea.

Winteringham will pass sentence on Feb. 4.

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