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Teen hockey star pleads to lesser charge after deadly Don River crash

A rising Toronto hockey star won’t do any jail time after a vehicle he was driving plunged into the Don River, killing a 16-year-old passenger last year.

The accused, whose name is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, pleaded guilty to careless driving on Tuesday at Old City Hall courthouse. The crime carries a $1,000 fine, one-year probation and one-year licence suspension. He was initially charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death and criminal negligence causing death.

The teen, who was 16 at the time, was driving an SUV eastbound on Lake Shore Boulevard East at the Don Roadway on March 29, 2013, when he lost control of the vehicle. He crossed three lanes of traffic, crashing through a guardrail and handrail before ending up in the Don River.

He and three other teen passengers managed to escape the sinking SUV with only minor injuries. But one of their friends, a 16-year-old boy, AJ Blugerman, was trapped in the vehicle and couldn’t be freed until much later despite the heroic efforts of police and firefighters who arrived on the scene within minutes of the incident.

Blugerman later died in hospital. His family declined to comment on Thursday.