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Court hears boat was travelling at 'killing speed' before crash on Shuswap Lake

March 02, 2015 - 7:29 PM

KAMLOOPS - A speedboat was travelling at "killing speed" before a fatal nighttime crash with a houseboat on Shuswap Lake in 2010, a trial has heard.

Leon Reinbrecht is charged with one count each of criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm stemming from a collision on Shuswap Lake that killed Ken Brown.

A speedboat allegedly operated by Reinbrecht collided with a houseboat piloted by Brown.

Firefighter Michael Wallace testified Monday that he was on vacation in the Shuswap on July 3, 2010, when he saw the speedboat and told a friend that it was travelling at "killing speed" and that someone was going to die.

"I probably said quite a few things, quite a few profanities," Wallace told B.C. Supreme Court, noting he witnessed the speedboat pull a fast U-turn at one point.

"It’s a total disregard for any nighttime driving. I was in shock to see it. I remember how odd that was to see at that time. To me, it was doing top speed or near top speed."

Another witness, Ronald Swift, said he saw 40 boats on the water in the area known as Magna Bay during a fireworks display before the crash. He said he also saw the speedboat on the lake while building a bonfire with Wallace.

"We could hear the engine, loud," he said.

"We looked out and we saw a boat heading in the same direction as all the other boats, moving east, moving fast. It sounded like a boat you’d hear during the day going by."

Swift said he saw the boat make "an abrupt turn" and begin to head back into traffic at a high speed.

"We just looked at each other and said, 'He’s going to run into somebody,' because there’s just so many boats out there," Swift said.

"It alarmed us. We just knew that nothing could come good out of it from the way he was driving. It sounded like perhaps it may have been wide-open throttle after he came out of the turn."

Swift said he heard "a loud bang" 10 seconds later.

"And then we could hear the boat out of the water," he said.

"You could hear the engine revving very high — and then silence, and then you could hear people screaming for help."

Swift said he and Wallace began running along the beach to get closer to the crash.

"Somebody on the houseboat was screaming for help, that they had a baby with them," Swift said.

Reinbrecht’s trial got underway in early February but has been plagued by delays as lawyers sorted out issues with the disclosure of evidence.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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