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Tense witness testimony in Vernon hit and run trial

"I don't know."

That pretty much sums up the evidence of Nick Hline, who testified today at the trial of Chase Donaldson who is on trial for a hit and run that killed 22-year-old Kiera-Leigh Carlson in 2010.
Hline spent the morning having a tense exchange with Crown prosecutor Iain Currie, which may have seemed odd considering Hline was a witness for the prosecution. Hline is also Donaldson's brother-in-law and didn't appear to be a willing witness. Donaldson is charged with dangerous driving causing death and failing to remain at the scene of an accident.
An earlier witness testified he saw a car and a truck "racing" past his house the night of April 30, 2010. The truck may have been driven by Hline, and the car by Donaldson. 

Hline told the court he and Donaldson were driving separately up to the intersection of Hwy 6 and Aberdeen Rd, with Donaldson leading. 

"I knew we were going a bit fast," said Hline. 
In court, he estimated the speed at about 70 km/h but in a video statement to police the day after the event, he said it was 80 to 90 km/h.
"I don't remember half the stuff I said in that statement," he said. 

Hline seemed flustered during his cross examination with Currie, often stumbling on his words and repeating the phrase, "I don't know." 
"You had every reason to stick to the truth (in that statement) to protect your brother-in-law," Currie said.
Defense lawyer Paul Danyliu re-directed Hline to the lower end of the speed estimate, then established that Hline was hungover and high when he gave his statement on May 1, 2010. 
"I'd gotten high about 20 minutes before the police arrived at my door," said Hline. 
But when Currie asked Hline if he saw any evidence in the video that he had been high, Hline said he did not. 
Earlier in the day, court heard from the police officer who first received the call reporting a missing person. 
Constable Kevin Rutten, an officer in the police dog service, received the call just before 10 p.m. on April 30. Carlson's coworkers had been concerned when she didn't show up for her shift at a Vernon nightclub, and had phoned the police. 
Rutten said Search and Rescue volunteers were contacted, and the search was activated before midnight. 
At daybreak of May 1, Rutten said he heard a commotion from outside the Search and Rescue (SAR) base (located on Aberdeen Rd near the Regional District of the North Okanagan building.) 
He said he heard someone shout, "There's someone laying there."
About 60-70 meters from the SAR base lay Carlson. 
"Her skin colour was ashen," said Rutten. "She was obviously not breathing." 
Later that day, Rutten went to check out Donaldson's Subaru Impreza, parked about a kilometer from the scene on Giles Drive. 
"I noted it was missing the left side view mirror... and that the bumper was hanging down a bit," said Rutten. 
Court resumes this afternoon. Stay tuned for updates. 
 —Charlotte Helston


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