Delburne man’s reckless driving led to fatal crash: Crown prosecutor

Jury began deliberating in manslaughter trial on Monday afternoon

A Delburne man’s “reckless disregard” while chasing a stolen vehicle led to the fatal collision on a rural central Alberta highway in August 2016, a Crown prosecutor told jurors.

Daniel Wayne Newsham, 47, ignored RCMP warnings not to pursue Stanley Dick and continued chasing him until their two pickups collided on Highway 42 near Lousana, said Crown prosecutor Brittany Ashmore on Monday.

After making contact, Dick’s Ford F-150 veered into the ditch and then rolled as he drove back onto the highway.

Dick, 32, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was thrown from the pickup, landing on the highway. He died later in hospital.

Newsham was charged with manslaughter for his role in Dick’s death and has been on trial since last Tuesday in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

His fate is now in the hands of the seven-man, five-woman jury, which began deliberating on Monday afternoon.

Justice Eric Macklin told the jury it had four possible verdicts. Not guilty, or guilty of manslaughter, dangerous driving causing death or dangerous driving.

To find Newsham guilty of dangerous driving the jury must be convinced that his driving was not just careless but was a “marked departure” from how a reasonable person would drive under the circumstances.

During the trial that began last Tuesday, the jury heard that Newsham and his friend Karl Raniseth were driving around when they came across Dick in Delburne on the evening of Aug. 14, 2016. Suspicious, they tried to get the licence number of Dick’s black Dodge Durango, but he drove off with Newsham in pursuit at the wheel of his customized, jacked-up Dodge Ram truck.

Dick wound up on a rural property, where he crashed the Durango into bulk fuel tanks. He then stole a Ford F-150 and drove off, hitting the SUV of a neighbour who had come to investigate.

Newsham and Raniseth, with the owner of the stolen pickup in the back seat, followed Dick to Highway 42.

Dick slammed on the brakes and cut Newsham off when he tried to pass, before the two vehicles clipped each other and Dick lost control shortly before 11:30 p.m., court has heard.

Ashmore said the jury should be skeptical of Newsham’s testimony that he was driving at a safe distance, noting he said he could not recall how fast he was driving because he was not paying attention.

Given Dick’s aggressive driving, Newsham’s decision to try to pass was not the decision of a reasonable person, but rather, “absolutely reckless,” she said.

As well, an RCMP forensic collision reconstructionist’s analysis supports a crash caused by Newsham’s Dodge hitting the Ford.

Defence lawyer Balfour Der said Newsham’s driving was not dangerous. A passenger in his truck said they travelled between 60 and 100 km/h and were 100 to 200 feet behind the Ford most of the time.

“This was nothing like a chase,” Der told the seven-man, five-woman jury.

If Newsham had meant to ram Dick’s vehicle, he would not have waited until they were on Highway 42 and he had a stranger as a passenger and witness.

“If his intent was to do that, he would have done it long before it actually happened,” said Der.

The testimony of all three people in Newsham’s Dodge is consistent that the Ford veered across the road and hit them, he said.

“In my respectful submission, Mr. Dick caused his own death. His driving was responsible for what happened.”

While Newsham’s decision to follow Dick may have been ill-advised and foolish, “nothing that Mr. Newsham did was unlawful,” said Der.



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Court

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Only 13 new COVID-19 cases confirmed by Alberta gov’t Saturday

There’s currently only two active cases in province’s central zone

Food Truck Fridays to start new Drive and Dash events next week

Events will be held in Westerner Park parking lot Thursday evenings, Friday afternoons all June

Alberta gov’t to expand mental health supports

The Government of Alberta says a $21.6-million investment will expand online resources… Continue reading

City of Red Deer encouraged residents to participate in Food Bank Ninja Challenge

The City of Red Deer is encouraging residents to participate in a… Continue reading

READER VIDEO: American White Pelicans spotted in Red Deer River

A Red Deer Advocate reader spotted a group of American White Pelicans… Continue reading

Protesters rally in Toronto against anti-black, Indigenous racism

TORONTO — Thousands of people are taking part in a rally on… Continue reading

Another COVID-19 case reported in northern New Brunswick on Saturday

CAMPBELLTON, N.B. — People from a city in northern New Brunswick lined… Continue reading

B.C. sees second day in a row with no COVID-19 deaths as schools ready to reopen

VICTORIA — British Columbia announced no new deaths from COVID-19 for the… Continue reading

UN sets pandemic voting rules for Canada’s Security Council campaign

OTTAWA — The United Nations has confirmed that the election for non-permanent… Continue reading

Police watchdog investigating death of Richmond man

RICHMOND, B.C. — British Columbia’s police watchdog has been called in to… Continue reading

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Tooting the importance of whistling

OK, so someone who tattles on another person is a whistleblower, and… Continue reading

Police see increase in speedy drivers on quieter streets during pandemic

Police across the country say they’ve been dealing with more complaints about loud, fast vehicles

Most Read