KELOWNA – Conflicting testimonies were heard Monday in the Supreme Court attempted murder case of accused Westside Road shooter Michael Ellis.
Darren Fayant and his wife Gwynn were in West Kelowna for a vacation July 31, 2012. They had just left Mission Hill Winery and were stopped at the intersection of Mission Hill Road and Boucherie Road shortly after 1 p.m.
“I looked to my right… and saw a van coming rather quickly,” Darren Fayant told Justice Ian Josephson. “The van looked like it was going to tip over it was going so fast.”
As the van approached, Fayant and his wife both say they heard two ‘pops.' Darren Fayant said they sounded like bubble wrap being popped, while Gwynn compared the sound to firecrackers.
The van was being pursued by two unmarked police vehicles with lights and sirens engaged. As the van passed in front of where the Fayant’s were stopped, they heard two or three more popping sounds.
That’s when they both say they realized the sounds were gunfire.
“Oh my god, they’re shooting at the police,” Darren said to his wife.
Although both agree the sounds came from the van and not the two police vehicles, they disagree on whether it was Michael Ellis they saw behind the wheel.
Darren Fayant described the driver as a male in his mid 20’s with light or reddish hair and a darker complexion. He says he had “both hands on the steering wheel and was hunched over.”
He told Crown lawyer Duncan Campbell that the man he saw driving was Michael Ellis however when asked the same question, his wife said that Ellis did not look like the man she saw.
“It’s your belief that individual is not in the courtroom?” asked defense lawyer John Gustafson.
“Yes,” she answered.
Gwynn Fayant described the driver as being clean-shaven with short-cropped hair and no hat or eyewear.
Neither saw anyone else in the van but said it was possible there were more people inside.
Justice Josephson also heard from Alan Pohl who was driving his work truck on Hudson Road when he was passed by an unmarked RCMP Suburban with lights on but no siren. He saw a van in his rear view mirror negotiate around an intersection before heading east towards the bridge.
“It all happened pretty fast,” he says. He only saw the passenger who he described as a male with “darkish, short hair” and what looked like a cigarette in his mouth. Pohl took down the licence plate before the van took off at high speed.
A fourth witness, David Ireland, also testified Monday that he saw a police car on Hudson Road that “looked like it was in chase of something.”
He saw a van in his rear view mirror driving erratically north of Highway 97 in the direction of the bridge.
“It was weaving in and out of traffic, passing on the left and passing on the right,” he says. “It passed me on the shoulder of the road…faster than 80 km/h.”
Ireland says the back window of the van was missing and describes the driver as wearing a baseball cap over sandy coloured hair.
He called 9-1-1 as the van turned onto the overpass to Westside Road and out of view.
Michael Ellis, 41, faces over a dozen charges including attempted murder. The trial is expected to take several more weeks.
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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