A passenger in a pickup truck said he felt the vehicle shake, but didn’t realize it had made contact with another pickup that then veered into the ditch before rolling across the road.
Karl Raniseth was in the front passenger seat of his long-time friend Daniel Newsham’s customized Dodge Ram truck as they followed a stolen Ford F-150 pickup on Highway 42 near Lousana.
As they followed the Ford, the driver ”jumped hard on the brakes” ahead of them, forcing Newsham to brake hard, he told court Friday.
They decided to try to overtake the Ford driven by Stanley Dick, but the Ford moved “abruptly” in front of them, braking sharply again to block the pass. The trucks were only inches apart at one point.
Newsham moved back to the right lane, and the Ford moved in the same direction, braking, said Raniseth.
He later learned the left front corner of Newsham’s truck made contact with the right rear corner of Dick’s truck, which then headed into the ditch and began sliding.
“I was like, ‘Oh f**k, he’s going to lose it,’” testified Raniseth.
”It was sliding sideways to get back on the road. When it got back on the road, that’s when it started to roll.”
Dick, 32, was thrown out and landed in the road. He died later in hospital.
Newsham was charged with manslaughter for his role in the collision. He is on trial in front of a jury in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.
Defence lawyer Balfour Der asked Raniseth if he was concerned about safety prior to the crash.
”I wasn’t concerned about anything,” he said. “We were just following the guy. There was nothing to be concerned about.”
Earlier in the morning, a collision expert backed up Newsham and Raniseth’s version of how the collision happened shortly before 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 14, 2016.
Forensic collision reconstructionist Daniel Ryan said that Newsham’s version of the collision was the “most plausible scenario.”
Ryan said the “trivial” damage caused to both vehicles and tire marks show there was not enough impact to move the Ford pickup to the left in the collision, as might be expected if the Dodge veered left into the Ford.
The evidence points to the Ford moving right toward the Dodge, said Ryan, who was testifying for the defence.
RCMP Const. Stephen Molnar, a forensic collision deconstructionist testifying for Crown prosecutors, concluded on Thursday that the Dodge moved to the left into the Ford, based on his analysis of the scene. The location of debris supported that scenario, he said.
Ryan testified that debris field evidence was inexact, especially since the two trucks were travelling in the same direction. Pieces of broken sidelight from the Dodge could have been thrown onto the road when it braked, he testified.
Crown prosecutor Brittany Ashmore challenged whether there was enough evidence to rule out Newsham moving in a right direction into the Ford.
Ryan said the evidence, such as tire marks, does not support that scenario.
He conceded that his analysis of what happened was not the only possible scenario.
Crown prosecutors and the defence lawyer are expected to make their submissions to the jury on Monday, when deliberations will likely begin.