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Speedboat driver drank, smoked pot before deadly crash on Shuswap Lake: witness

An RCMP is seen looking at the houseboat which was hit by a speedboat on Shuswap Lake, July 3, 2010.
Image Credit: Contributed
April 02, 2015 - 10:38 AM

KAMLOOPS - The driver of a speedboat that slammed into a houseboat on a Shuswap Lake in 2010 was drinking beer and smoking pot before the crash, a witness has told B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops.

Britney Sundberg was aboard Leon Reinbrecht's speedboat and was involved in a romantic relationship with his son when the fatal crash occurred on July 3, 2010.

Sundberg told a judge on Wednesday, April 1 that she was 16 years old when she first met her boyfriend's dad — he was on the beach with a beer in his hand.

Sundberg, now 21, said about six people boarded the boat and began drinking, socializing, laughing, and Reinbrecht later rolled a joint while watching fireworks.

"He grabbed the bag that had scissors, paper and marijuana from the glove compartment in front of where he sat," she said, noting Reinbrecht shared the joint with her and his son.

After the fireworks, Reinbrecht returned to shore, dropped off three people and headed back out on the lake with his son and her, said Sundberg.

Sundberg said Reinbrecht continued drinking beer.

"I don't remember the exact amount, but it was a fair amount," she said.

Sundberg said the speed of the boat started to increase and Reinbrecht began making sudden turns, a doughnut and circles.

"He got more oblivious, he got louder," Sundberg said. "Because he was drinking, he probably didn't know his speed."

Sundberg said Reinbrecht was trying to get back to the campsite where his family was staying when the collision occurred.

"We were inside the houseboat and I was screaming," she said. "It was like hitting an invisible wall that was not there."

After the collision, Sundberg said, Reinbrecht rinsed out his blood-filled mouth with a swig of beer, and she realized she had glass in her head.

Sundberg said Ken Brown, the houseboat operator who died during the accident, somehow ended up in the speedboat.

"I remember Ken crawling towards us — trying to crawl," she said. "At that point, there was nothing we could do for him. It looked to me like he had no legs. There was blood everywhere."

A few days later, Reinbrecht gave her and his son a ride from Kamloops to the Shuswap to pick up their vehicle, and said that if everybody stuck together they would be OK, she said.

Previous witnesses have said Brown had also been drinking and smoking marijuana prior to the crash.

Reinbrecht is charged with one count each of criminal negligence causing death and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

The Crown expects to wrap up its case by the middle of next week.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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