A London, Ont. man has been found guilty in a hit-and-run crash that left a teenaged cyclist with life-altering injuries.
Twenty-nine year old Jesse Bleck was read the verdict in his case late Wednesday afternoon. It comes four years after a vehicle struck 17-year-old Tristan Roby on Exeter Road, rendering him disabled.
“I can hardly wait to go home right now and talk to Tristan and let him know that it’s over as well,” said Tristan’s mother Abby Roby, who was embraced by supporters outside the London courthouse after the decision was handed down.
“This has been weighing on him for the last six weeks,” she said.
“It’ll be one less thing to have consciously on our heads all the time,” added Tristan’s older sister Mackenzie Azevedo. “Give us a little bit more emotional space for everything.”
Bleck was found guilty of failing to remain at the scene of an accident causing bodily harm, and driving while prohibited.
On the night of July 21, 2019, Tristan was cycling on Exeter Road when he was struck by a vehicle that left the scene. The crash left the then 17-year-old with life-altering injuries.
“One thousand, four hundred and eighty seven agonizing days,” Abby exclaimed. “Where some days are good, and some days are bad. Some days he is bright eyed, and some days he is not even wanting to wake up for the day because he’s just bummed out.”
Tristan Roby and his mother Abby are seen at their home in London, Ont. on thursday, Jan. 16, 2020
The trial was scheduled to take three weeks, but ended up lasting six weeks.
The jury took less than two days to reach a decision, siding with the Crown who argued that Bleck was behind the wheel at the time of the crash.
The jury heard there were three people in the car, with the defense arguing Bleck was not the driver.
“If he had just stopped, just stopped, then this would have been an accident, and we would have just all been moving on with our lives,” Abby remarked. “But instead it just becomes this cancer that’s been growing and gripping everyone in our lives. It’s taken over everything.”
The court will set a sentencing date for Bleck on September 12.
For Tristan, meanwhile, who turned 22 during the trial, the road ahead is long.
But at least one part of the journey is over, said Abby.
“That was the first chapter,” she said as she walked away from the courthouse on her way home to see her son.
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