November 23, 2012 - 12:40 PM
UPDATE: 12:01 p.m. Nov. 23
Chase Donaldson knew he hit something with his car the night of April 30, 2010, a witness at his trial said.
"I can't remember if I called him or he called me, but he told me 'dude, I think I hit something. It could have been an animal, somebody, or a pole,'" said Crown witness Nick Hlina, Donaldson's brother-in-law. "He said something along the lines of, 'I'm freaking out.'"
Hlina said he tried to convince Donaldson that he'd merely bumped a car that was stopped at the intersection, but according to Donaldson's wife, Marcia, her husband knew right from the start it wasn't a car.
The defense called its first witness, Marcia Donaldson, this morning, and through her shaky words, a new perspective was brought to light.
Marcia recapped the night of April 30, 2010, beginning with a pleasant party celebrating her grandparents' 60th anniversary. She said she left before her husband to get their two young kids home for bed.
Chase Donaldson remained at the party to help clean up with Hlina. Hlina then drove Donaldson home so he could pick up his Subaru. Donaldson had a quick word with his wife before heading out again with Hlina.
"He didn't say when he would be back," she said. But when he arrived home not half an hour later, she knew something was up.
"I asked him what happened," she said. "And he said, 'I hit something and I'm not sure what."
Marcia Donaldson told court that she went outside to inspect the damage on the Subaru.
"I saw the driver's side headlight was broken, the panel on the front driver's side was indented, the mirror was gone, and there was a little dent on the roof," she said.
She said the next thing she did was get in her husband's work truck and drive down the road so she could look for what had been hit.
She didn't take a flashlight or get out of her car, but drove down both sides of the road with her window open. She didn't see anything. When she got home, her husband noticed they'd missed a call. When Marcia Donaldson phoned the number back, the police picked up.
They asked her if she knew why they were calling, and she said, "Well my husband did just hit something on Aberdeen Rd." Donaldson did not detail the rest of the conversation, but summed up that the police would be in touch.
Meanwhile, Chase Donaldson had decided to go out looking himself. He grabbed flashlights and was gone for half an hour, said his wife. When he arrived back, she said she went out a second time to look, but found nothing.
In the morning, Marcia Donaldson said her husband returned again to Aberdeen Rd.
"He wanted to see if he could see anything in the daylight," said Donaldson.
Fifteen minutes later, he was back again.
"He said the area was surrounded by cops and looked like a crime scene," said Donaldson. "He decided he needed to go back and talk to them about it."
But Donaldson said her husband was waved away by the police.
Around 8:15 a.m. the police called back.
"They told him, 'you must be the one who hit the girl,'" said Donaldson. Her hands trembled as she dabbed her eyes with a tissue.
"They came over and arrested him."
Stay with us for more on the trial this afternoon.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012