An Edmonton man has been found guilty of numerous charges after he caused a fatal, high-speed collision that followed a police pursuit in August 2012.

Jovi David Howie, 25, was drunk behind the wheel of a Jeep Cherokee just before 6 a.m. on August 6, 2012, when an officer noticed he was speeding. That officer followed Howie and called for backup when he discovered the vehicle had been reported stolen. A short police chase ensued, but officers backed off when the speeds in a west-end residential area became too dangerous.

Ninety seconds after that, Howie sped through a red light and slammed into an SUV in the intersection of 156th Street and 100th Avenue. The impact killed the other driver, 52-year-old Lyle Rude. The pipefitter and father of five was two blocks from home on his way to work when his SUV was broadsided.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Adam Germain rejected Howie’s claim that someone else was driving the Jeep and somehow fled the scene uninjured in the 30 seconds before police arrived at the crash scene.

“Let me say bluntly that I do not believe the evidence of the accused,” Germain said. “It is beyond reality that someone else was in that red Jeep. It is simply impossible.”

Howie was convicted of dangerous driving causing death, criminal negligence causing death, evading police causing death, disqualified driving and driving over .08 causing death. His sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Friday.

Court heard that Howie told police and paramedics at the scene that a friend he only named as Ryan was actually behind the wheel. However, the only civilian witness to the crash testified she saw only one person in the Jeep. Const. Dan Fraser, the officer who first followed Howie, told court he was the only one in the vehicle and identified him in the prisoner’s box.

Germain concluded Howie was simply trying to divert police attention away from himself when he invented the phantom driver.

“All officers said the same thing,” Germain noted. “They only saw one person in the vehicle.”

Fraser followed Howie for several minutes before turning on his flashing lights in an attempt to pull him over. Howie then accelerated through a turn and sped down a residential street as he 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.”

Roseanne Cox, the sole witness to the crash, told court she thought she would die when she looked in her rear-view mirror and saw Howie speeding toward her as she waited at the red light at the 156th Street and 100th Avenue intersection. 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, Howie veered out of her lane, swerved around her and ran the red light, slamming into the side of Rude’s SUV and rolling it across the intersection.

Court heard that Howie’s blood was drawn when he went to hospital for a broken leg he suffered in the crash. He was found to have twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system.

Source: Edmonton Journal


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