Street racing death in court

Tuesday marked the second day of Coldstream resident Chase Garrett Donaldson’s Supreme Court trial in Vernon.

Donaldson is charged with dangerous driving causing death and failing to remain at the scene of a crash in the April 30 2011 fatal hit and run that killed Kiera-Leigh Carlson, aged 22, of Vernon.

Kiera-Leigh Carlson was struck by a car while she walked along the side of Aberdeen Road in Coldstream on her way to work. Her body was not discovered until the following morning.

Carlson’s friends and family showed their support for their loved one in court by wearing purple.

Crown council called the last two of its six witnesses on Tuesday.

The first witness was Coldstream resident Mike Pitura who had been playing with his dog around 8:30 p.m. April 30 2011 when he witnessed two vehicles speeding along Aberdeen Road.

"I thought, those guys are racing, based on the noise and the proximity of the vehicles, being so close together,” said Pitura. 

It wasn’t until the next morning when Pitura encountered a roadblock did he realize someone had been struck. He then told a bylaw officer what he heard and saw the night before.

But the emphasis was on the second witness, RCMP Collision Analyst Sgt. Brian Nightingale who led the court through his analysis of the scene that included 74 exhibits and over 200 photographs and diagrams.

According to his calculations, based on the field of debris, the vehicle that killed Kiera-Leigh Carlson was travelling at a minimum of 61 to 71 km/h and was potentially going as fast as 100 km/h. The car was also found to be rotating on its vertical axis, implying the rear wheels were tracking outside the front wheels.

A side mirror was also found at the scene, the same colour, make, and wiring as Donaldson’s Subaru Impreza. Nightingale said the first point of impact was located on the driver’s side headlight as the vehicle was travelling north in the southbound lane. The second point of impact was located above the front left fender and a third impact occurred when the victim’s head hit just above the driver’s side window.

Defense questioned Sgt. Nightingale over the accuracy of his conclusion since he based his calculations on the field of debris and there was a delay between the time of the accident and the time the crime scene had been secured, asking whether it was possible evidence had been potentially tampered with.

Nightingale said it was unlikely anything had been altered at the scene and maintained his conclusions were correct.

Donaldson remained quiet and solemn as the witnesses presented their evidence.

The trial is slated to conclude by November 30.

Here is the link to the Friends of Kiera-Leigh Carlson's Facebook page.

Click here for the story from May 1, 2012.

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