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Drunk driving trial focuses on car key

The key to the vehicle involved in an impaired driving causing death trial became the focus of a continuing trial on Wednesday in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

Defence lawyer Bob Sawers said the fact that his client had the key in his pocket did not make him the driver — only that he turned the car off.

Nathan Michael Medwid, 19 at the time, died after being ejected from his car after it rolled off of Hwy 20 about five kilometres north of Sylvan Lake in the early hours of Dec. 5, 2006.

His friend, Peter Clifford Hanson, now 26, is charged with impaired driving causing death.

Medwid and Hanson had come to Central Alberta from their hometown of Swan River, Man., to work in Alberta’s oilpatch. They were on their way home after a night of celebration in Red Deer when the collision occurred.

On Wednesday, Sawers called for a dismissal of the charge saying the case is “strictly and completely one of circumstantial evidence.”

“There is clearly no direct evidence Mr. Hanson was the driver of the vehicle,” Sawers said.

He said Medwid was in the driver’s seat, inebriated and asleep with the vehicle running prior to the collision.

He said people said Medwid regularly drank and drove, and when doing so drove recklessly, and insisted he was all right to drive and was stubborn when he drank.

And there was no evidence from the first responders on the scene or from the 911 operator that Hanson drove the vehicle, Sawers said.

“He told everyone he was not the driver. There is no admission from Mr. Hanson that he was the operator of the vehicle,” Sawer said.

Crown prosecutor Tony Bell argued the accused did tell someone that Medwid was asleep in the front passenger seat.

The ignition also had to be in reverse to remove the key, he said.

“We’ve had many lies that show conscience of guilt,” Bell said about Hanson.

Justice Monica Bast will rule on the motion for dismissal on Thursday.

The trial started on Feb. 5.

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