September 15, 2014 - 5:39 PM
KELOWNA – A witness who took the stand in the attempted murder trial of accused Westside Road shooter Michael Ellis was shot at three separate times, but still refused to stop following him.
Michael James Scott is an onsite construction supervisor with the Ministry of Transportation. He was in his work truck on Westside Road in the early afternoon of July 31, 2012 when he heard over the radio that a minivan refused to stop for a flagger a few kilometres south of his position.
He drove to another roadblock to warn the flaggers that a “fast-mover” was inbound. As he was talking with the flagger he caught sight of a van matching the description given over the radio a few minutes prior.
“I think that’s our customer,” he remembers saying as the van stopped approximately 150 metres away.
Scott says it seemed like the driver of the van was checking them out, deciding what to do.
“It looked like he was deciding whether or not to run,” he told Justice Ian Josephson in Kelowna Supreme Court Monday afternoon.
“The vehicle slowly started to proceed towards us, somewhat erratically,” Scott says.
Scott says the van paused for a few moments before slowly driving towards them. As it got closer, it began to speed up and Scott and the flagger moved off the road for their own safety.
Scott says he got a good look at the driver as he passed by them doing approximately 50 or 60 km/h.
Scott got into his work truck, turned on the flashing yellow lights and began following the van he describes as being light brown or gold in colour.
By the time Scott caught up to the van, they were stopped at a line of vehicles in the southbound lane.
Scott says he then saw three people exit the van and saw the driver rush towards a red pickup truck parked in the oncoming lane. Scott says he felt like the driver of the truck was being accosted but became distracted when a stack of papers fell out of the van. By the time he refocused his attention on the three people, one of them was standing in front of his truck.
As Scott and the man, described as in his mid-30’s, heavy set with a dark complexion and a 5 o’clock shadow, stared at each other, Scott saw him raise a short barrelled firearm and point it at him.
The man fired several times forcing Scott to duck below the dash and lock his doors.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” Scott says. “I heard three or four dull pops… it sounded like a rock ting on my windshield.”
Scott then saw the driver and two passengers, another male and a female, get into the red pickup, turn around and drive northbound at high speed.
When crown lawyer Murray Kaay asked him if the man who had pulled the gun on him was in the courtroom, Scott pointed at Michael Ellis.
“He’s sitting right there,” he said.
Scott says after the red truck drove off, he became angry that someone had shot at him with what he thought at the time was a pellet or BB gun and decided to call 911 and follow the truck.
As Scott followed the truck north on Westside Road, he saw a male hang outside the cab and point a weapon at him again.
“I braked pretty aggressively,” Scott says, before comparing the second round of four to six gunshots directed at him as sounding different from the first set of shots, more like a paintball gun.
Scott continued following the suspects until they pulled off the road and he saw one of the male passengers get out of the truck and take aim at him. Scott testified that he saw the passenger use the truck as a brace and point a gun longer than the first directly at him.
He didn’t hear any gunfire but decided not to get any closer and the passenger got back into the truck before continuing north on Westside Road.
Approximately three or four kilometres up the road, Scott saw the truck pull into the oncoming lane and force a black truck in the southbound lane to a full stop.
As two of the suspects began transferring items from the red truck into the black truck, Scott says one of the men again pointed a gun at him.
He saw three people get into the hijacked black truck, turn around and head north once again.
“It seemed to be the same driver,” Scott says.
After checking on the health of the now stranded driver of the recently hijacked truck and finding him unhurt, Scott again took off after the suspects. As they approached La Casa Resort, he saw the black truck pass two vehicles and disappear around a corner.
Soon after, he came across an RCMP cruiser parked on the side of the road and decided to tell them what he saw.
“I figured my job was done,” he says, adding that the entire event was “chilling in hindsight.”
“My children could have been orphaned.”
Three days later, after the site was reopened to the public, Scott says one of his flaggers came to him and showed him a short-barrelled .22 calibre rifle he found on the side of the road. Scott wrapped the gun in a T-shirt and phoned RCMP who took it into evidence.
The trial of Michael Ellis, 41, is set to resume Tuesday morning and is expected to last several weeks. He is accused of attempted murder and more than a dozen other charges.
Also implicated are Ashley Collins, 21, and Shawn Adam Wysynski, 34, who pleaded guilty in June to being in a vehicle with a restricted weapon and armed robbery.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014