Man pleads guilty after driving against doctor’s orders and killing mother of 3

A Calgary man knew he had a brain tumour that caused him to black out but rejected his doctor’s order not to drive and ended up killing a mother of three.

On Monday, provincial court Judge Richard Neufeld accepted James Beagrie’s plea to dangerous driving causing death.

Anjna Sharma, 48, was killed on May 23, 2017, when she was struck and dragged by Beagrie’s Ford F-150 as she walked near Sunridge Mall.

Sharma was survived by her husband, Suneet Sharma, and three children, Saniya, Rudransh and Archisha.

Beagrie had been diagnosed with a benign brain tumour in January 2013. 

From that point on, he had an annual appointment with a neurologist, according to an agreed statement of facts filed by prosecutor Kane Richards and defence lawyer Allan Fay.

In February 2017, four years after his diagnosis, Beagrie was in a car accident in Drumheller, Alta., after he blacked out while driving.

Beagrie was taken to hospital in Red Deer where, after a CT scan, doctors realized his tumour had grown. 

He was given a 24-hour driving suspension and told to see his family doctor. He was required by Alberta Transportation to have his physician fill out paperwork within the next six weeks. 

At an appointment in March, Beagrie told his doctor about the Drumheller crash and said he had lost consciousness at work three or four times.

On April 12, 2017, Beagrie received another letter from Alberta Transportation after the deadline for the paperwork had passed. The department extended the deadline to May 10.

On May 3, Beagrie had a second appointment with his family doctor, during which the physician told him not to drive and to meet with his neurologist to discuss the tumour growth.

Alberta Transportation sent another letter on May 12, advising Beagrie his licence would be automatically suspended on June 6.

Just 11 days later, Beagrie blacked out while driving his truck, when he struck and killed Sharma.

Sharma was born and raised in Una Himachal Pradesh, India, where she completed a master of economics degree. She immigrated to Canada in 1996 and began working for Alberta Health Services in 2008. She was taking a short walk during her lunch break when she was struck.

In her obituary, Sharma was described as the “backbone of the family,” a person who was full of love and affection, always smiling and happy to help others.

A sentencing hearing for Beagrie has not yet been scheduled.

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