Court hears victim impact statements in fatal Westboro hit and run

Flowers are hung on a post. Westboro’s Superstore is seen in the distance.
Bouquets of flowers hang on a post at Richmond and Kirkwood in Spring 2023. File photo by Charlie Senack.

By Charlie Senack 

It’s been one year since Franco Micucci was killed while crossing the intersection of Richmond Road at Kirkwood Avenue. The beloved Westboro resident was out for an evening stroll with his wife of 21 years when he was struck by a vehicle that was fleeing police. 

A family’s world changed in an instant. Children Daisy and Nadya Micucci were left without a father, and grieving widow Shirlene Byne was stripped from her partner of two decades. Anger, sadness, grief, and loss followed. 

On April 25, a year and 10 days after the fatal accident occurred, Micucci’s family and friends were in Ottawa’s Elgin Street courtroom to deliver victim impact statements. 

“You will never have the benefit of my absolution for what you did to my husband, my family and our friends,” said Byne, according to the Ottawa Citizen. “You will not have the privilege of my mercy because you certainly showed none for Franco.”

Her comments were directed towards Tevon Bacquain, the 23-year-old who pleaded guilty to fleeing police and failing to remain on the scene. Earlier this year, an Ottawa Police officer who chased the young driver down Carling Avenue was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Law enforcement were told to follow Bacquain’s gray Honda Civic that was allegedly involved in a nearby drug deal. The persue stopped when the situation became dangerous. “It ain’t worth it, man. He’s gonna hit somebody,” a police officer was reported saying over the radio. 

In Micucci’s obituary and at Thursday’s court appearance, the Westboro resident was remembered for his big heart and love for others. “He was the living embodiment of integrity, humility and love,” his obituary read.

Micucci survived the initial impact, but it was obvious from the beginning that he was in rough shape. The 46-year-old went airborne, an SIU report read, before landing on the hood of the Honda civic. He survived in hospital on life support with a serious head injury for six days before taking his last breath. 

Franco, his wife and daughter in a selfie.
Franco Micucci seen with daughter Daisy and wife Shirlene. Supplied.

Tragedy has struck his family before. Lifelong friend Jason Lutes told the court through victim impact statements that Micucci was always cautious when crossing the road after his younger brother died when Micucci was only 11. Byne added her husband never let her walk on the outside of the sidewalk. 

“I used to think he was worried about hurting himself. Now, after losing him, I understand that it was much more than that,” said an emotional Lutes. “He understood that his life didn’t just belong to him. He had to be careful because he was now his parents’ only child. When he was older, he understood that his life also belonged to his wife and his children.”

A moment of regret 

When Bacquain had his turn to speak, the accused apologized and said he would never expect to be forgiven for his reckless actions. He wished peace and happiness to Micucci’s family. 

“I know nothing can be said or done to make things better, to reverse time, and there’s no words to describe the guilt that I will carry for the rest of my days,” said Bacquain.

Bacquain will be sentenced at a later date. Assistant Crown attorney Hart Shouldice requested a six-year sentence, and an additional 90-day sentence for an unrelated aggravated assault charge. Another 12-month sentence for drug trafficking has also been urged after 29 pills of hydromorphone were found in the back of his car. 

The accused’s lawyer is asking for a lighter sentence of 24 to 30 months, with a 566 day credit for time already spent in jail. Reasons given were for Bacquain’s history with substance abuse, mental health, and the racism he faces as a mixed-race individual. 

In July 2023, Micucci’s family told KT they would fight for Justice to be served, and said Bacquain’s “continued detention makes the entire community safer.”

Leave a comment