Police video at the trial for the Canada Day 2010 fatal collision showed the defendant frequently swaying while he was standing in the booking area of the Red Deer City RCMP detachment after the tragedy.
Two 11-minute videos, shot from different angles, were entered into evidence on Thursday during a voir dire at the Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench trial before Justice Kirk Sisson.
Rodney Ross Arens, 36, is charged with dangerous driving causing death, impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing injury, impaired driving causing injury and breaching release conditions.
Anouluck “Jeffrey” Chanminaraj, 13, died after a 2004 Dodge pickup heading north on Taylor Drive struck a southbound 2001 Honda Civic that was attempting to turn left onto Kerry Wood Drive on the evening of July 1, 2010.
Jeffrey’s sister, Stephanie, and their brother Jamie, who were 20 and 18 at the time, were also injured.
The voir dire, or trial within a trial, was held to determine the admissibility of certain evidence gathered by police.
Red Deer City RCMP Const. Richard Browne, who was in the booking area at the same time as Arens, testified on Thursday.
“(Arens’) balance is unsteady. He’s kind of swaying. Basically his upper body never stops moving,” said Browne as the court viewed the videos.
At one point in the video, Arens speaks briefly to Browne, who was about a metre away.
Browne said there was a strong smell of alcohol coming from Arens when he spoke.
In the booking area, Browne was in the process of releasing another man arrested on an alcohol-related offence.
Defence lawyer Donna Derie-Gillespie asked if that man also smelled of alcohol. Browne said he assumed that he did.
Browne told Crown prosecutor Robin Snider that the man was about 2.4 metres away when Arens spoke to him from about a metre away.
In other testimony, Red Deer RCMP Aux. Const. Lyle Cheney told the court that Arens slurred his speech, seemed confused and was unsteady on his feet at the scene. Cheney was one of the first two responders to the collision and was the first officer to speak to Arens on the scene.
“I did not notice any odours, but he was smoking from the time I was approaching him,” Cheney said.
The trial reconvenes on May 28.