Trial begins for driver in fatal rollover

A trial for a Red Deer man charged in a single-vehicle rollover that killed his uncle started on Tuesday in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

A trial for a Red Deer man charged in a single-vehicle rollover that killed his uncle started on Tuesday in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

Matthew Joseph Duda, 24, was charged in 2009 with impaired driving and dangerous driving causing death following the rollover near Sylvan Lake on June 4, 2008, that killed Ross Loblaw, 36, of Delburne.

A charge of failing to remain at the scene of an accident and providing assistance for an injured person was withdrawn by Crown prosecutor Maurice Collard.

Loblaw was found on the road by a motorist after he was ejected from the eastbound pickup truck that rolled in the grassy median of Hwy 11 about two km east of Hwy 20. Police were called at about 3:30 a.m. Loblaw died at the scene.

Police searched the area but did not find anyone else involved in the crash during their initial investigation.

Duda, who was living at People’s Place homeless shelter at the time of the collision, went to Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre later in the day to be treated for injuries suffered in a vehicle collision. Hospital staff alerted police.

Police allege that Duda was driving the pickup and fled the scene after the truck rolled and his uncle was the passenger.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Duda initially told police he was the passenger, but later admitted he was the driver. DNA tests showed blood on the driver’s seat belonged to Duda.

RCMP Cpl. Gord Baker, a collision reconstructionist in Central Alberta, testified the vehicle swerved towards the median before swerving a few times back and forth across eastbound lanes before rolling a few times in the median.

He estimated the truck was travelling between 120 and 130 km/h when it began swerving. The speed limit in the area at that time was 100 km/h.

Baker said the driver’s seatbelt was the only one that was worn during the collision and there was blood on the belt, driver’s door, and on the inside roof of the cab above the driver seat.

There was no blood on the passenger side.

The airbags did not deploy, which is typical for this vehicle in a rollover.

Duda’s ex-girlfriend, Nikki Bear, 23, told the court she found Duda in her home in Red Deer the afternoon after the collision.

He had pieces of glass and dried blood on his body and had injured his ribs. He was in shock and disoriented.

Duda told her that he and his uncle used drugs and drank the night of the collision.

Jennifer Law, a waitress at a bar in Rocky Mountain House and Loblaw’s cousin, testified that both Duda and Loblaw were drinking at the bar that night.

She said Duda got into a fight with someone in the washroom and he was asked to leave. Loblaw left about a half hour later.

The dangerous driving causing death charge carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail.

The trial before Justice Kirk Sisson is scheduled to conclude Friday.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Officials tour Hwy 2/Gaetz Avenue interchange

Deputy Premier Sarah Hoffman and local MLAs visit construction site

Bike thefts becoming ‘significant problem’ in Red Deer

Residents are sounding the alarm on the growing problem of bike theft… Continue reading

Red Deer approves 10 cannabis retail stores

Locations approved around the city

One trillion litres of sewage leaked into lakes and rivers over last five years

OTTAWA — Last Wednesday, a team of people from the Lake Ontario… Continue reading

Woman bitten at Red Deer dog park

Dog owners reminded to control their pets

WATCH: A horse was neglected by its owner. Now the horse is suing

ESTACADA, Ore. - Justice is an 8-year-old American quarter horse who used… Continue reading

Red Sox old-timer’s memorabilia going up for sale

BIDDEFORD, Maine — Some items belonging to one of the Boston Red… Continue reading

Rival Korea leaders to meet in Pyongyang in September

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — The rival Koreas announced Monday that North… Continue reading

Charlottesville anniversary: Peaceful protests, few arrests

WASHINGTON — Thousands of people wanting to send a message that racism… Continue reading

‘I believe music heals people’: 12-year-old records tribute for shooting victims

YARMOUTH, N.S. — Twelve-year-old Josh Cochrane of Yarmouth, N.S., watched the news… Continue reading

Fallen officers’ families gather with Justin Trudeau after tragedy

The prime minister laid flowers at the growing memorial to the four victims of Friday’s violence

Fallen officers’ families gather with prime minister after tragedy

FREDERICTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with families of fallen Fredericton… Continue reading

Liberals showcase benefits of billions spent on infrastructure projects

OTTAWA — Little more than a year before the next federal election,… Continue reading

Fredericton parade ‘a way to celebrate even in the midst of this grief’: mayor

FREDERICTON — Two days after four people were gunned down in a… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month