The lone eyewitness to a high-speed collision that followed a police pursuit thought she was going to die in the moments before the crash, court heard Monday.

Roseanne Cox was waiting for a red light at the intersection of 156th Street and 100th Avenue around 6 a.m. on Aug. 6, 2012, when she glanced in her rear view mirror and saw a car speeding up behind her. Cox was returning home from Tim Horton’s, she testified.

“It was very, very fast. I’m thinking it was travelling well over 100 kilometres an hour,” she testified on the first day of the trial. “I thought I was done. I thought I was finished. I thought my life was ending.”

At the last minute, the red Jeep Cherokee veered out of her lane, swerved around her and ran the red light, slamming into the side of an SUV. The crash sent the SUV rolling across the intersection.

As Cox watched, the driver of the SUV, 52-year-old Lyle Rude, was ejected from his vehicle, rolled across the pavement and lay still.

Cox saw another man outside the Jeep Cherokee hunched over, stumbling toward the sidewalk. He “appeared” to be trying to leave, she said.

Cox dialed 911. Two police cruisers arrived at the scene before she’d finished giving her information to the dispatcher, she said.

Only minutes before, police had been pursuing a Jeep Cherokee through west Edmonton.

Const. Dan Fraser testified that he began to follow the Cherokee because it was speeding, then realized the licence plate matched a stolen vehicle. As Fraser activated his lights and tried to pull the driver over, the Jeep accelerated through a turn and sped down the road.

“Basically, he matted it,” Fraser said of the driver. “He put his foot right to the floor. He kept accelerating. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind he was trying to get away.”

The Jeep sped down the residential street and missed parked cars by inches. Because of the speed, the approaching morning rush-hour and the proximity to Stony Plain Road, police decided to stop the pursuit after less than a minute.

“It was for the safety of the public,” Fraser said. “The front end of my car was starting to slide on the gravel. I said enough is enough.”

Fraser lost sight of the vehicle and saw it again when he arrived at the “horrific crash.”

Fraser identified the driver as 25-year-old Jovi David Howie. The officer pointed to him in the prisoner’s box.

Howie faces charges of dangerous driving causing death, impaired driving causing death, flight from police, disqualified driving and possession of stolen property under $5,000. He has pleaded not guilty.

Fraser said Howie was sitting down near the Cherokee when he arrived at the crash scene. Court heard Howie’s leg was broken in the crash.

Rude died from his injuries. The pipefitter and father of five was two blocks from home on his way to work when his SUV was broadsided.

The trial continues.

Source: Edmonton Journal


Last updated on: 2013-05-08 | Link to this post