September 02, 2014 - 2:59 PM
KELOWNA – Dozens of witnesses and roughly 100 pieces of evidence are expected over the coming weeks in the attempted murder trial of a man accused of shooting at police and motorists during a high speed chase on Westside Road in 2012.
Michael Ellis, 41, is alleged to be one of three people who fled a traffic stop on Boucherie Rd. July 31, 2012 at around 1 p.m. The chase took them north along Westside Rd. where a handgun was used to hijack two other vehicles from motorists.
The suspects also attempted to hijack the vehicle of a woman driving with her young child in the car, but when she refused to let them have her Subaru, they fled and took control of a black pickup.
Crown prosecutor Murray Kaay said in Kelowna Supreme Court Tuesday the suspects also fired a rifle at an RCMP dog handler’s unmarked vehicle as well as several other motorists. There were no injuries to police or bystanders during the shootings.
Kaay says the evidence linking Ellis to the crimes include witness accounts, cell phone footage and items recovered from the various vehicles that were used in the attempted getaway.
According to Kaay, police fired at the suspect’s vehicle at least three times during the hour-long chase.
Ellis and two others, Ashley Collins, 21, and Shawn Wysynski, 34, were all taken into custody near Vernon where it was discovered that one of the occupants of the vehicle was injured by gunfire. The driver of the black pickup was also injured by a police dog during the arrest.
“I believe this man is Mr. Ellis,” Kaay told Justice Ian Josephson who is hearing the case without a jury.
One of the Crown's most important witnesses will be a Ministry of Transportation employee who saw one of the carjackings take place near a Westside Road work zone, Kaay said.
Three unlicenced firearms were seized during the arrest as well as spent casings, lead likely from a bullet and shards of tinted glass. Ellis faces charges of attempted murder and other gun-related offences.
Collins and Wysynski pleaded guilty in June to charges of armed robbery and occupying a vehicle that contained a restricted firearm and will be sentenced later this year.
Ellis’s trial is scheduled to last several weeks.
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