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Driver appeared drunk at time of collision: witnesses

Two pedestrians who testified on Tuesday at the trial for the Canada Day 2010 fatal collision say the driver accused of the crime appeared intoxicated at the scene.

Rodney Ross Arens, 36, is charged with impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death and six other charges, including refusing to provide samples of his breath to collision investigators.

Witnesses at the trial have testified that a black truck sped through the intersection at Taylor and Kerry Wood Drives at speeds of 75 to 80 km/h, striking a small car that was making a left turn towards Bower Ponds.

Anouluck “Jeffrey” Chanminaraj, 13, who was riding in the front passenger seat of the car, died at the scene. His older sister and brother were injured.

“When (the driver) got out of the truck, he stumbled around a bit like he had been drinking,” said Crown witness Amanda King, 26, of Rocky Mountain House, during her testimony in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

King said the driver looked at the damage to his truck and heard him say, “I guess I’m not driving this away.”

She said he was slurring his speech some and said he needed a smoke. He stood by his truck until the police arrived.

“It looked like he was trying to make sense of what happened,” King said.

When the driver was asked to walk a straight line for the police, she said he didn’t need to walk far before he was handcuffed.

King said she was walking on Kerry Wood Drive, on the east side of the intersection.

Her head was turned to speak to a friend behind her so she didn’t see the crash. But she heard it and turned to see the car spin about four times.

Crown witness Teagan Jones, 27, of Red Deer, said he was on the east side of the intersection waiting to cross and saw the truck speed up as it came down the hill on Taylor Drive and hit the car.

“The light was yellow and the truck continued to drive through the intersection,” Jones said.

“I remember hearing the screams. I remember walking up to the car to see if I could help. I remember seeing the dead boy.”

Jones said the driver of the truck stumbled when he got out of his vehicle, swore when he looked at the damage to the front of the truck, lit a cigarette and stumbled again as he made his way back into the truck.

He said the driver didn’t pay any attention to the car.

“It appeared to me he was drunk,” said Jones, who demonstrated in the court room how the driver stumbled, then corrected himself.

Jones, who is the general manager of a local restaurant, said having worked in the restaurant industry for a few years, he sees people consume alcohol to excess on a daily basis and recognizes how they behave.

When defence lawyer Donna Derie-Gillespie asked if the truck driver could have been injured, Jones said he couldn’t tell, but it was possible.

The trial continues Wednesday.



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