November 20, 2012 - 5:40 PM
The trial of Chase Donaldson got technical today as a traffic investigator laid out the evidence at the scene against the man accused of the hit and run that killed 22-year-old Kiera-Leigh Carlson in 2010.
RCMP collision analyst Sgt. Brian Nightingale took the court through his analysis at the scene, which included some 74 exhibits on Aberdeen Road where Carlson's body was found. One of those exhibits was a side mirror which he compared to Donaldson's Subaru Impreza.
"Same wiring, same make," he said of the car and mirror.
He estimated the vehicle was going 61 to 71 km/hr—perhaps as fast as 100 km/hr.
The debris field at the scene suggested to Nightingale that the collision occurred on the gravel on the side of the road. He pinpointed the left headlight of the Subaru as the first point of impact. The second point, he said, likely occurred on the fender above the right wheel.
"It's a significant dent," he said. A third impact was above the driver's window, where the victim's head hit.
He also analyzed tire marks at the scene which, he said, showed the impact was on the gravel portion of the road. They showed evidence of what he called "side slip" which wouldn't be present if a controlled vehicle was in its own lane.
During his cross examination with defense lawyer Glenn Verdurmen, Nightingale agreed that if the driver had made an intentional turn to the left, some of his calculations would be irrelevant.
Verdurmen questioned Nightingale about the possibility of individuals tampering with evidence overnight, before Carlson's body was found and the scene was secured.
"People don't normally pick things off the road," said Nightingale. "And I don't imagine there are many people on that road after 9 p.m."
Nightingale said he was able to use the tire markings on the gravel to calculate the trajectory taken by the vehicle. But Nightingale could not say the tracks belonged to a specific vehicle.
Verdurmen then brought up the topic of a broken hair clip found at the scene, believed to belong to Carlson.
Verdurmen suggested the clip might have been road trash and wasn't Carlson's at all.
"It's unlikely in my opinion," Nightingale said. "It would have been obliterated if a car drove over it... if you use common sense, you won't see many hair clips blowing down the road."
Nightingale maintained that the clip had likely broken during the actual collision itself, and noted he had reason to believe the clip belonged to the victim and was among some 28 different objects found that belonged to the victim.
The trial continues tomorrow.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2012