Oct 24, 2013 - COQUITLAM HIT-AND-RUN TRIAL WRAPS UP, VERDICT EXPECTED JAN. 3 [Charlene Reaveley & Lorraine Cruz]

The fate of Cory Sater, the driver accused of killing two women at the side of the Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam in a hit-and-run, is now in the hands of a judge.

On Wednesday, both the Crown and deference in the trial made their closing arguments to the court.

But before the proceedings began, Sater pleaded guilty to one of the charges against him, for hit-and-run.

Sater was facing 10 charges related to the crash that killed Charlene Reaveley and Lorraine Cruz, including two counts each of dangerous driving causing death, impaired driving causing death, causing an accident resulting in death and one count of failure to stop an accident.

Cruz had been driving with her boyfriend in a Nissan Pathfinder just before 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 19, 2011, when the vehicle crashed near Lougheed Highway and Pitt River Road.

The two got out of the car, while Reaveley, her husband Dan and two friends stopped to help. As the group stood outside the Nissan, a white Jeep Cherokee ran down both women.

Reaveley and Cruz were killed instantly, while Cruz's boyfriend Paulo Calimbahin was seriously injured.

As the trial, which began on Sept. 30, came to a close, Crown reviewed its case against the defendant.

Crown counsel Chris McPherson suggested Sater had spent the evening up to the crash drinking, which included a bar tab of $92 for six rye and cokes and three shots.

Crown suggested the testimony of four employees at the Lougheed Bar & Grill, who served Sater that night, is key to establishing the defendant was impaired.

McPherson said staff cut Sater off at one point in the evening, also noting they saw a dramatic change in his behavior over the three hours in the bar, which Crown attributed to alcohol.

"All of the evidence show's he [Sater] was impaired," he said.

It was also noted there was no blood test for alcohol because Sater did not remain at the scene.

As for the dangerous driving charges, Crown also said there was clear evidence Sater wasn't paying attention.

McPherson pointed to the testimony of a witness that said the white jeep ran a red light at the intersection just prior to the collision.

He said Sater made the decision to drink drive that cost the lives of two people and seriously injured a third.

Court also heard that the Jeep struck the Pathfinder vehicle at a speed between 44 and 64 km/h.

Sater's lawyers didn't dispute their client was driving the Jeep, but suggested there is a lack of evidence and reasonable doubt that he was driving in a manner that was dangerous, or that he was impaired.

In closing arguments, defence lawyer Rishi Gill attempted to poke holes in the reliability of several Crown witnesses, including the bar staff at Lougheed Bar & Grill.

He suggested the statements given to investigators by bar staff shortly after the incident, were different than testimony at trial.

In one instance, Gill said one server got the time she served Sater incorrect.

He also questioned how one server was able to accurately assess the defendant's level of sobriety after stating she had interacted with him for a fraction of a second.

Gill then turned his attention to Crown witness Lloyd Smith, who was in the vehicle with Sater at the time of the crash.

Sater's lawyer noted that Smith had said the accused was driving fine and he wouldn't have gotten into the vehicle if he didn't think Sater could drive correctly.

Gill also pointed out that Smith testified that Sater went through a green light, and not a red at the Pitt River intersection that has been suggested by Crown.

He added the testimony and evidence given by Smith matches up with Crown's own crash experts.

Gill also argued Sater was distracted by a person in the road at the time, suggesting it was one of the four people who stopped to help after the original crash.

"Everything that could have gone wrong that day, did," he said.

The judge will render his verdict on Jan. 3.

Source: The Vancouver Sun


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