Branded in court on Thursday as a killer who lied to cover his tracks, Vlad Precup is going to prison for four years after a judge sentenced him in the 2008 hit-and-run that killed defenceless pedestrian Mitchell Anderson, 38.
Precup not only knew he had struck a pedestrian at the intersection of Rideau Street and Colonel By Drive but he got rid of his sports car days later, then lied to police about it all.
In delivering his sentence on Thursday afternoon, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Lalonde said he was stunned by Precup’s testimony, notably when Precup gave a new, wildly unbelievable account on the stand, blaming the deadly crash on another motorist, who unlike Precup, stuck around and went to help Anderson as he lay dying in the street.
Anderson’s daughter read a victim-impact statement saying, “My whole life has been nothing but pain, sorrow, and despair, and a long life of trauma.” She noted that Precup killed not just a father, but a brother and grandfather.
The judge portrayed Precup’s testimony as devoid of credibility and noted his deception to cover his tracks and cast blame on others.
The judge said Precup’s crime had nothing to do with his mental illness — schizophrenia — and everything to do with his anger.
The trial also heard that Precup, 38, only after finally admitting that he was in involved in the hit-and-run, said he was in some sort of fear of the pedestrian, who was drunk when he kissed his own hand and touched the hood of Precup’s Mazda RX8 as Precup waited for the green light on the night of July 13, 2008. The court heard that Anderson had made no threats.
The judge noted that Precup didn’t lock his doors or roll up the window in fear but instead floored the gas pedal. The rear-wheel-drive Mazda fishtailed through the intersection and continued “street-racing” through the ByWard Market, one of the capital’s “densest and busiest neighbourhoods.”
Several witnesses — including a pedestrian who backed away for fear of the “out-of-control” car — testified that the engine revved and the tires screeched as it sped north on Sussex, then swerved right onto George Street and disappeared from his view.
The judge also noted a telling conversation between Precup and his girlfriend shortly after the deadly hit and run.
“We didn’t hit him, right?” his girlfriend Christy Lu asked.
“I don’t think so,” Precup replied.