Vernon and North Okanagan News
Closing arguments in hit & run death
Closing arguments in the Aberdeen Road hit and run case were filed Monday in Vernon Provincial Supreme Court.
Chase Garrett Donaldson, of Coldstream, is charged with hitting and killing Kiera-Leigh Carlson with his car on the night of April 30, 2010.
He is also accused of leaving the scene and failing to report the incident to authorities.
Crown Prosecutor Iain Currie alleges that Mr. Donaldson failed to stop and give his name and address in order to escape blame.
Over the course of the trial, Supreme Court Justice Frank Cole heard testimony from several witnesses, none of whom actually saw the incident take place, but were either in the immediate area at the time
or were expert witnesses.
“A reasonably coherent picture emerges from the evidence of David and Beth Regehr and Wayne and Lisa Webber,” said Crown in a court submission.
The Regehr’s testified that the night before the body of Keira-Leigh was found they were forced off the road by an oncoming car in their lane. According to Crown, this was likely the “set of headlights” Mr. Donaldson blamed the collision on that night.
The Webbers, who were stopped to turn left onto Hwy. 6 testified they heard “tires squealing” behind them and saw a car drive onto the intersection before turning around and going back onto Aberdeen Road.
The Crown submits that “had the Regehr vehicle been the one driving erratically, towards the wrong lane (and directly behind the Webbers), then the Regehr vehicle would have been the one that they noticed, and the one that Wayne Webber would have seen when the sound of squealing tires led him to look in his rear view mirror”.
Expert witnesses were also brought in, including RCMP Collision Analyst Sgt. Brian Nightingale and forensic investigator Kurt Ising.
Although they disagree on the exact speed at the time of impact the range is between 70 and 103 km/h. The 911 call placed from the accused cell phone shortly after the incident has been the most difficult for the defence to explain. Mr.
Donaldson has maintained from the beginning of trial that he does not remember calling 911 and that he sent to voicemail two unknown calls immediately after, not realizing it was 911 calling him back.
According to Crown Prosecution, “these inconsistencies are lies. Even if it were possible for someone to forget hanging up on 911...we know the accused did not forget, because he told his wife that the unknown seven digit number was police emergency before she called it back.
“All of these are examples, among many, of the accused showing himself to be unconstrained by his oath, free to invent whatever fiction serves his purpose at the moment.”
As has been the case since the start, supporters of Keira were present in the gallery, including Keira’s father, Len Carlson.
“We’re just hopeful the Crown has proven the case,” he said.
Chief Justice Cole has given until December 18 for any last filing of materials with judgement expected sometime after.
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