I'm going to give you the details of my mom's story and would appreciate any advice!
Offence committed: Fail to yield to traffic
Contrary to: Highway Traffic Act of Ontario 144(8)
(8) When under this section a driver is permitted to proceed, he or she shall yield the right of way to traffic lawfully using an intersection or, where traffic control signals are erected where a private road or driveway meets a highway, lawfully using the area controlled by the traffic control signals. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (8); 2006, c. 19, Sched. T, s. 6 (3).
She was driving in a town where the speed limit is 50km/hr. She wanted to turn left into the parking lot of an arena/ park, checked her blind spots, checked in front of her (there was an oncoming police car with no lights/ sirens on and was far enough for my mom to make the turn safely), made the signal, and turned. Police car turned right into the arena/ park as well. Officer turned on her front lights and made a gesture to my mom that she understood as keep going. My mom was driving very cautiously here because of all the bumps and grooves on the pathway leading to the main arena/ park, so she thought that maybe the officer had a request in the park and was trying to get there. So my mom continued driving, but after a bit, the officer stopped her car and got out of her vehicle and yelled at my mom in frustration to stop! At this point, they were in the middle of the parking lot that was so packed that there was hardly any room to drive as well as there were many people about, trying to get to their cars (there were a number of events happening that day, different sports tournaments, activities, etc.). By stopping her here, the officer had cut off the way for a lot of people.
The officer approached my mom's car. My mom greeted her but the officer totally ignored her and didn't reply back. My mom then asked her what's wrong? The officer then replied that she had failed to yield to traffic. My mom was confused because she was sure that she had done nothing wrong. The officer asked for my mom's license and papers and my mom gave them to her. My siblings in the car asked her if she could explain what my mom did wrong, but she just repeated that she failed to yield to traffic and did not provide any additional explanation.
My mom pleaded not guilty. She went to an early resolution meeting which did nothing as she was not even allowed to tell her side of the story but just had to hear what the officer wrote. She has a court hearing and it's scheduled this upcoming Monday. We requested a notice of disclosure of the officer's notes as we still did not understand what she had done wrong. We received them via mail but some of the officer's writing was really hard to make out, so we requested a typed up copy. We received it in the mail about a week and a half ago. This is what she wrote:
"Female driver, oncoming vehicle, watched driver's eyes, she was not looking forward, did not look at cruiser, but was looking to left arena parking lot. She turned left without signaling. She turned directly in front of cruiser, had to apply brakes as she turned in front. Followed and turned on front lights. Car slowed and stopped briefly. Male in back right seat waved driver on. Followed the car, stopped again, got out of my cruiser. Car started again and went further into parking area. Drove up beside and gestured for them to stop. Female driver would not address officer. Driver was mad she was stopped. Male said he saw lights but not sound so said to her to go. Driver unaware she cut off cruiser at roadway. Issued PON failed to yield. Explained the ticket again and explained the 3 options."
A little bit of background about my mom: She has had a clean driver's record for about 10 years. She's a very cautious driver, always signals, always checks her mirrors. In all of her years of driving, she has only been issued 1 speeding ticket for going around 100km on an 80km zone I think and this was in 2013 I believe.
She does not have a lawyer for her case as we cannot afford one. My 2 brothers who were in the car with her will serve as witnesses. She will tell her side of the story...
Has anyone heard of a similar case? Can she win this? I mean, it's going to be her word against the officer's... Are relatives considered trusted witnesses? Does anyone see an argument that we can make?
I apologize for the long post and thank you in advance!!
If by front lights you mean the emergency lights on the roof (or visors/grill) then the action required is very clear - pull over to the side and stop.
Former Ontario Police Officer. Advice will become less relevant as the time goes by !