Hit and run trial back on | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions

Mostly Cloudy

Vernon News

Hit and run trial back on

Chase Donaldson, and his wife Marcia Donaldson.
December 10, 2012 - 2:02 PM

Update: 5:00 p.m. Dec. 10

The Crown has made his point very clear: the accused is a liar. Chase Donaldson's lawyers claim otherwise, but it's not up to them. 

Final submissions were given today by the Defense and Crown, leaving the next step in Supreme Court Justice Frank Cole's hands. Cole has placed a tentative date of Dec. 18 to announce his decision on whether or not Donaldson is guilty of his charges. He indicated the date may be moved up to the end of this week.

The afternoon court session was brief—just long enough for Cole to make inquiries into the two submissions placed before him.

Cole seemed intent on clarifying a few last things before making his decision. One of those things, was why Donaldson failed to speak with 911.

"One of my concerns is this 911 call we know was made," said Cole.

"When the phone records were put to him, it was obvious he couldn't have been there (at the RDNO building)."

But that wasn't the only issue Cole had with the call.

Cole asked the Defense why, if Donaldson had an inkling he might have hit a person, did he not speak to 911 after dialing the number.

"If a person's life was at issue, why would he not elicit help?" asked Cole.

Defense lawyer Glenn Verdurmen echoed his client's statement, saying, "He didn't know what he'd hit."

The reply wasn't good enough for Cole, who said there was no evidence Donaldson had hit something other than a person, and that everything pointed to the reality that a human being had been hit.

Cole pointed out that during his cross-examination, Donaldson admitted, "Yes, I should have called 911."

Cole also questioned Crown lawyer Iain Currie on several points, including a matter of inconsistency with one of his witness, David Regehr's, statements.

Currie acknowledged this, but said, "It doesn't turn out to be a key point."

Of Donaldson's evidence in the trial, Currie says in his written submission that "it would be possible to go on for many pages pointing out all of the contradictions, inconsistencies and absurdities in the accused's evidence." Instead, he focuses on the most significant pieces of Donaldson's evidence, and "why they ought to lead this Court to conclude that his evidence should be wholly rejected as as untruthful."

Currie says the fact the accused called 911 proves the charge of failing to remain at the scene is deserved.

"There was no plausible reason for him to call 911 other than an incriminating suspicion that he had struck a person, and no conceivable reason to hang up the phone other than to avoid liability for the accident."

Of Donaldson's other charge—dangerous driving causing death—Currie says the accused's evidence on how he took the curve is both "unbelievable and contrary to the established facts."

"The accused was unconcerned with fidelity to the truth, and said whatever seemed best to serve his defense."

In the submission given by Defense lawyers Glenn Verdurmen and Paul Danyliu, a notably different light was cast on the accused.

"(Donaldson) was not glib, coy, or evasive. He was solemn, and on at least one occasion appeared to be tearful."

The Defense state Donaldson's actions do not amount to an act that should be criminalized.

"There is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that there is a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person would have observed in the accused's circumstances."

In their conclusion, the Defense highlights the inconsistency of the Regehrs' testimonies.

They also note that the two collision analysts, who stated Donaldson had to have been going above the speed limit based on evidence at the scene,  "had very little physical evidence to base their opinions on."

The experts had tire marks, the debris field, and the accused's vehicle, among other things, to use in their calculations.

Cole must now decide if Donaldson is a liar, as the Crown suggests, or a remorseful individual who doesn't deserve to be branded a criminal. 

—Charlotte Helston




The Crown and Defense of a fatal hit and run trial will give their closing arguments today at 3 p.m. after having a week off to condense two weeks worth of evidence.  

The accused, 29-year-old Chase Donaldson of Coldstream, faces charges of dangerous driving causing death and failing to remain at the scene. 
The victim of the incident was 22 year old Kiera-Leigh Carlson, who died on Aberdeen Road after being struck by Donaldson's Subaru Impreza the night of April 30, 2010. 
Her body was discovered the following morning near the Regional District of the North Okanagan center, on the opposite side of the road from where Donaldson should have been driving. 
Donaldson says he swerved left across the road as he approached the intersection of Highway 6 and Aberdeen Road because he thought another vehicle was going to hit him. He says he "heard a bump and saw a flash" as he collided with Carlson who was walking to work along the side of Aberdeen Road. But he says he didn't know at the time it was a person he'd hit. He says he didn't see Carlson's body, despite searching repeatedly. 
The Crown says Donaldson was speeding as he rounded the curve before the intersection and that is why he ended up on the wrong side of the road. He also suggests Donaldson would have found the body if he had looked, because she was located near the road and dressed in light coloured clothing. 
Collision analysts noted tire marks found at the scene suggest Donaldson's speed was well above the posted limit of 50km/hr. 
Supreme Court Justice Frank Cole said he will need a week to make his decision after receiving the final submissions. 
Stay with us for more. 
—Charlotte Helston
News from © iNFOnews, 2012

  • Popular kelowna News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile