Jan 06, 2014 - B.C. MAN GUILTY OF DRUNK DRIVING IN FATAL HIT AND RUN IN COQUITLAM [Charlene Reaveley & Lorraine Cruz]

 Two pedestrians died in Feb. 2011 incident

The look of relief on Dan Reaveley’s face outside of courtroom 209 in New Westminster Friday said it all.

Just moments earlier, the Coquitlam father of four heard from a judge what he had been waiting to hear for nearly three years: Cory Sater, the man behind the wheel of a truck that mowed down his wife and two other pedestrians, was guilty of a crime.

“It’s nice to know there is a little bit of accountability,” he said outside the law courts.

“The biggest thing for me is setting a precedent for people who go jump in the car after they drink, so it definitely sets a stage for people coming up.”

Sater was found guilty of six charges, including impaired driving causing death and bodily harm and dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm.

Sater was originally facing 10 charges related to a crash on Feb. 19, 2011 that killed Charlene Reaveley and Lorriane Cruz on the side of Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam. A third person, Cruz’s boyfriend Paulo Calimbahin, was seriously injured.

At the end of his trial in October, Sater pleaded guilty to a charge of hit and run.

The Crown, due to a lack of evidence, dropped three charges related to Sater’s blood-alcohol level.

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

The two got out of the car, while the Reaveleys 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 Calimbahin was seriously injured.

In his reasons, Supreme Court Justice James Williams accepted the testimony of several of the Crown’s witnesses during the trial, including four employees at the Lougheed Village Bar & Grill, where Sater drank with a cousin and an acquaintance before the incident.

The servers at the bar cut off Sater at one point in the evening.

The judge accepted the evidence that the accused drank six double rye and cokes and two shots over a three-hour period.

Williams also touched on the testimony of Lloyd Smith, the acquaintance of Sater who was in the vehicle with the accused during the incident.

Smith testified that he didn’t think Sater was too intoxicated to drive and considered the crash unavoidable.

But the judge disagreed suggesting Smith was “minimizing the wrong” that occurred that night.

Instead, Williams said he’s convinced Sater’s failure to react to a situation on the road from the first incident was a major factor and a direct result of being impaired.

As for the dangerous driving component, the judge noted Sater was oblivious to the hazard in front of him, pointing out the accused ran a red light, before impact.

Williams said Sater drove at the same speed and continued without breaking after hitting the three victims.

“To my mind that manner of driving is dangerous,” he said, adding any reasonable person would have recognized the situation in front of them.

The judge did also note the way the scenario developed all contributed to the “tragic event,” adding all three people hit presented a hazard and the proper course would be to get off the road.

Sater’s sentencing is scheduled for March 31.

During the reading of the judge’s decision, some family members and friends in the courtroom could be seen wiping away tears, while outside the court following the proceedings, hugs and handshakes were shared.

Outside court, Reaveley said he’s not sure if the decision will bring closure, adding he’s waiting to see how he feels after sentencing.

“It’s nice that it’s almost over,” he said.

Revealey said he would wait to tell his children what happened in court until after Sater’s sentencing.

The 13-day trial, which took place in October, included at times emotional testimony from witnesses at the scene of the crash, including a 911 tape played in court that recorded the moment of impact.

In all, the Crown called 31 witnesses and experts during the trial, while the defence decided to call none.

Source: The Vancouver Sun


Last updated on: 2014-05-04 | Link to this post