Oct 03, 2013 - COQUITLAM HIT-AND-RUN TRIAL: WITNESS HEARD 'BIG BANG' [Charlene Reaveley & Lorraine Cruz]

As the trial for the man accused in the deaths of two women on the side of a Coquitlam highway continues, more details about the events leading up to the crash are starting to emerge.

On Wednesday, Paulo Calimbahin, the boyfriend of Lorraine Cruz, testified in court, recounting his version of events leading up to the deadly crash.

The trial for Cory Sater began Monday in New Westminster Supreme Court.

He is facing 10 charges related to the Feb. 19, 2011 crash that killed Cruz and Charlene Reaveley.

Sater has pleaded not guilty to all 10 charges.

Calimbahin told court he went out that Friday night with some friends to the DVC shooting range in Port Coquitlam.

While at the range, he received a call from Cruz to return home sometime after 10 p.m.

The pair had been living together in Coquitlam at the time.

Calimbahin explained Cruz just begun learning how to drive a month prior and had her L licence.

He noted she had just bought a 1990s Nissan Pathfinder a couple weeks before the incident.

He said that night she wanted to stay over at a friends place so she could practice her driving the next day.

The 30-year-old told court the pair headed out to the Braid SkyTrain station to drop her off.

Calimbahin testified that Cruz was behind the wheel as the pair first went to a bank before the station.

Traveling southbound down the Lougheed Highway, he said their vehicle approached the Pitt River intersection as the advance warning lights went off near the intersection.

He said he told Cruz to "watch for the lights", but she didn't respond.

Calimbahin testified he grabbed the hand break to slow the truck down, which caused the vehicle to start spinning out of control.

The truck eventually hit a barrier and wound up facing oncoming traffic in the southbound lane of the highway.

The initial crash happened shortly after midnight.

Calimbahin said following the crash, the driver's side door didn't open, noting that Cruz hopped into the back seat, while he moved to the driver's side to get the door open.

He told court he couldn't remember much of what happened after they got out of the car.

"I looked over to my right, I saw these two tiny headlights," Calimbahin said.

"I saw Charlene and Lorraine hugging."

He also told court he didn't feel they were in any danger at the side of the road, adding several cars passed by after the initial crash.

A few moments later he said he saw the hood of a white truck, before being struck by the vehicle.

"I remember lying on the concrete or road, face down," he said, at times getting emotional recalling the incident.

He said he called out for his girlfriend as soon as he gained consciousness and tried to look for her but couldn't get up.

Crown has alleged that a white Jeep Cherokee driven by Sater struck Reaveley, Cruz and Calimbahin and then took off.

Calimbahin was taken to Royal Columbian Hospital where he was treated for serious injuries, including losing the lower portion of his left leg, a broken arm, broken eye sockets and fractured pelvis.

He spent months in a rehabilitation recovering from his injuries and hasn't returned to work.

But under cross examination, defense lawyer Tony Serka attempted to poke holes in Calimbahin's testimony, suggesting he doesn't remember many aspects of the event.

The defense also repeatedly suggested it was Calimbahin behind the wheel of the Pathfinder and not Cruz at the time of the first collision.

Calimbahin denied that he was driving at the time.

Dan Reaveley, Charlene's husband, also took the stand and recounted his version of the events that evening.

He said he, Charlene and two friends had gone out for dinner and were on the way back from the Boulevard Casino when they stopped at the intersection of Loughheed and Pitt River.

Reaveley, who was a passenger in the friend's truck, said he noticed Cruz's Pathfinder swerving side-to-side, before it crashed into a median.

He said he and his friend ran over to assist the couple, while friend Kimberley Moore called 911.

That recoding of that 911 call was played in court Monday.

In what appeared to contradict Calimbahin's testimony, Reaveley said when he got to the truck, Calimbahin was in the driver's seat with his seatbelt on, while Cruz was in the backseat.

Reaveley and the friend helped pull the two out of the truck.

Later on cross-examination, Reaveley testified it was clear to him Calimbahin was driving.

He also testified that the pair seemed distraught following the crash, while Cruz was crying.

By that time, Reaveley said he noticed Charlene was also by the Pathfinder comforting Cruz.

In the meantime, Moore called over Reaveley to move their truck.

He said as he just got into the truck, with his back partially turned away from the scene, when he heard a "big bang."

He said he yelled out to his wife and ran towards her.

Reaveley said he held Charlene in the middle of the road.

Both Charlene and Cruz were killed on impact.

In all, Crown is expected to call 20 witnesses and take two weeks to present its case. The trial is scheduled to last a month.

Source: The Vancouver Sun



Last updated on: 2014-05-02 | Link to this post