Trial: SUV met 2 women in Central Saanich
Weather and road conditions were good at the time of the crash on Central Saanich Road, the court heard
A Victoria woman whose sister was struck and killed by a vehicle on Central Saanich Road three and a half years ago never recovered from the injuries she sustained in the same collision, the court heard Thursday Supreme of British Columbia.
This information was revealed in admissions of fact read from the court file during the trial by judge alone of Anthony Thomas.
Thomas pleaded not guilty to impaired driving and dangerous driving causing the death of Kim Ward on August 27, 2018 and to impaired driving and dangerous driving causing bodily harm to his sister, Tracy Ward.
Kim Ward, 51, was a massage therapist from Victoria who had worked with some of Canada‘s top athletes at two Olympic Games. The sisters were visiting their mother that night.
Admissions say Tracy Ward suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, including a brainstem injury, which left her left side paralyzed.
She suffers from hydrocephalus, cranial nerve palsy, difficulty swallowing and severe global cognitive impairment.
The weather that day was clear, dry and hot, the road was straight and in good condition, and the Jeep that hit the women had no damage or defects that contributed to the fatal collision, according to the confessions.
The confession also reveals that at 7:45 p.m., Agatha Siah, a woman present at the scene of the accident, gave the police sergeant of Central Saanich. Paul Brailey a bag containing two pills.
“All of these objects were in the possession of the defendant and on his person at the scene moments after the collision,” the confessions state. “These pills were actually flubromazolam, a type of benzodiazepine that is not currently marketed in Canada. It is not a counterfeit Xanax or any other type of benzodiazepine currently marketed in Canada. It is considered extremely powerful.
Called as an expert witness to testify about his analysis of the fatal collision, retired police sergeant Saanich. Alan Gurzinski testified that he arrived at the scene in the early to mid-evening, about an hour after the crash.
As it got darker, lights were provided by the Central Saanich Fire Department.
Gurzinski, assisted by forensic identification officers Const. Mark Prill and Constable Brad Walsh photographed and recorded evidence at the scene to determine what happened. They measured tire marks and scrapes on the road, as well as the distance the women were thrown. Kim and Tracy were quite close together on the grassy boulevard when they were hit, he said.
Several weeks after the accident, Gurzinski retrieved crash data from the Jeep which showed it was traveling just under 50 miles per hour – 80 km/h – just before the collision.
“Based on my calculations and data from the crash data recovery report, I believe the vehicle was traveling 77 or 78 km/h when it hit Tracy and Kim,” Gurzinski said.
He concluded that the Jeep was initially traveling south in the southbound lane. At one point it began to roll to the left, over the center line and into the northbound lane.
At one point, very close to the driveway of a mobile home park, he started rolling down the boulevard where he hit Tracy and Kim and their dog, Gurzinski said.
Weather and road conditions were good at the time and the Jeep’s mileage was negligible at 476 kilometers, he noted.
“The only explanation is that there was driver error involved in this collision,” Gurzinski said.