Man accused of manslaughter in fatal collision testifies he was cut off

A Delburne man accused of causing a fatal collision said he was cut off by the other driver as they drove down Highway 42.

”He hit the very front corner of my truck. I just let off the gas and held on,” said Daniel Wayne Newsham, 47, who has been charged with manslaughter and was testifying in his own defence Thursday.

After the impact, the stolen Ford F-150 pickup truck Newsham was following carried on a short distance before turning into the right-hand ditch. The driver then over corrected, swerved left and the truck began rolling. It came to rest in the ditch on the opposite side of the highway, Newsham testified.

Stanley Dick, 32, was thrown from the rolling pickup onto the road. He died later in hospital.

Defence lawyer Balfour Der asked Newsham if he steered his Dodge pickup into Dick’s truck.

”No, I did not,” said Newsham.

Der asked if his truck had hit Dick’s at any time during the period he was following him on Highway 21 to gravel roads and then finally on Highway 42.

”No, I did not.”

Newsham said he was driving around Delburne with a friend when he came across a suspicious black Dodge Dakota. When they stopped next to it, Dick walked up and appeared agitated when questioned, he said.

”He seemed very edgy,” Newsham testified.

Dick drove off through Delburne with Newsham and his friend following, court was told. They wound up on a rural property, where Dick had crashed the Dakota into fuel tanks.

Newsham said he heard an engine revving and a silver pickup came out of the trees, clipped an SUV that showed up at the rural property, and then drove off.

Newsham followed and the two pickups ended up on Highway 42. Dick hit the brakes more than once, forcing Newsham to brake hard. When Newsham tried to pass, Dick cut him off, court heard.

Just before the collision, Newsham’s pickup was on the right edge of the road near the ditch.

”That’s when he came over and cut me off again,” he said.

Under cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Brittany Ashmore closely questioned Newsham about the journey down Highway 42 that saw Dick speeding up and slowing down ahead of Newsham.

”You’re keeping up with that vehicle, correct?” she asked.

“Correct,” said Newsham.

Despite Dick swerving to prevent Newsham from passing, and applying the brakes in front of him, “You didn’t stop, did you?”

”No,” said Newsham.

Just before the collision, Newsham testified he had tried to pass by moving into the left lane, but Dick moved over to block him. He then returned to the proper lane and then Dick came across and hit him, court heard.

Ashmore asked why Newsham didn’t hit the brakes before that.

“From the point that started, it was seconds from start to finish,” he said. “There was no time to do anything.

“I’d nowhere else to go. I just held my steering wheel straight.”

Ashmore concluded her cross-examination with Newsham agreeing there were plenty of opportunities before the fatal collision when he could have stopped pursuing Dick.

An RCMP forensic collision reconstructionist said that based on his investigation, he believes the Dodge clipped the rear of the Ford, which left the road, corrected and then flipped.

The location of taillight and side light debris, as well as tire marks on the road, backed that scenario.

However, under cross-examination, he agreed that it was also possible the Ford steered into the Dodge.

The trial continues Friday.

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