KAMLOOPS - A speedboat was doing doughnuts on a lake in British Columbia's Interior in "pitch-black" conditions and on a moonless, overcast night minutes before a fatal collision in 2010, B.C. Supreme Court has heard.
The trial of Leon Reinbrecht, who is charged with one count each of criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm, heard testimony Thursday from Bryan Lane, a Shuswap Lake cabin owner and boater.
The Crown is alleging that a speedboat operated by Reinbrecht collided with a houseboat after a fireworks display July 3, 2010, resulting in the death of the houseboat's pilot, Ken Brown.
Lane told the court in Kamloops that after the fireworks ended, he waited about 20 minutes for boat traffic on the lake to thin out before heading back to his cabin in an area known as Magna Bay.
He said there was an excessive number of boats on the water, maybe as many as 100.
The conditions were "pitch black" on a moonless night as he motored his boat back to his cabin with eight other people on board at a speed of between eight and 13 kilometres an hour, Lane said.
He said he was "caught off guard" by a houseboat that was travelling at a slightly slower speed than he was, and he could only see it's port navigation light.
Not long after, Lane said, a speed boat came past at between about 50 and 65 kilometres an hour.
"It was going by quite fast," said Lane." All you could see was the white light on the back and the navigation light on the front."
It then made a series of sharp turns before heading back toward Magna Bay at high speed, when it paused again, he said.
"I can see it doing circles," he said. "The boat is doing doughnuts. ... It made me scared. I had a boat with eight other people."
Lane said shortly after he tied up his boat to a buoy, about three to five minutes after seeing the boat cutting donuts, he heard a "thud" — what he believed was the speedboat hitting a dock. He could hear emergency sirens soon after.
The collision between the two boats took place at about 11:15 p.m., creating what was described by witnesses as a chaotic scene.
A Kamloops firefighter testified earlier in the trial he saw a speedboat travelling at "killing speed" before it struck the houseboat.
Reinbrecht has pleaded not guilty.