Impaired driving causing death trial continues

Ryan Ross
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Case against Ray Cantelo heard RCMP recordings of the arrest this morning

Raymond Cantelo prepares to enter Supreme Court building Tuesday in Charlottetown for the resumption of his trial. He faces six charges, including drunk driving causing death.

The man who was allegedly drunk when he was involved in an accident that killed a Eglinton woman says he didn’t drink any alcohol until after the crash.

Raymond Alfred Cantelo appeared before Justice Gordon Campbell in P.E.I. Supreme Court Tuesday for the second day of his trial on several charges, including drunk driving causing death.

Most of the day was spent listening to recordings of Cantelo after his Oct. 22, 2011, arrest for his alleged role in the accident that killed Stacy Cheverie and seriously injured her husband, Bernard Cheverie, on Peakes Road.

The two were riding a motorcycle when Cantelo allegedly pulled out in front of them from a side road.

The recordings played in court showed Cantelo in two very different moods.

In the first series of recordings taken over a span of several hours after his arrest, Cantelo was argumentative and berated the arresting officer who found his van about 30 minutes after the accident.

After confirming Cantelo and his van matched descriptions from a witness, an RCMP officer arrested him at his girlfriend’s home. The officer recorded the conversation as he read Cantelo his rights, but Cantelo repeatedly interrupted to say he didn’t understand and threatened to take the officer to court.

Several times, the officer told Cantelo he was arresting him for impaired driving causing death.

At one point, Cantelo said the RCMP didn’t get him for drunk driving and they never would.

“Don’t be stupid,” he said.

The officer eventually handcuffed him after Cantelo grabbed the piece of paper that listed his charter rights.

Cantelo also denied having any role in the accident, and when the officer told him someone was seriously hurt, he responded he had never hurt anyone in his life.

“I’ve had no part in that whatsoever,” he said.

There were few points in the recordings during which Cantelo wasn’t talking, including him telling the RCMP officer they could shoot him if they wanted and telling them what they were doing to him was disgraceful.

Cantelo alternated between telling the arresting officer he wasn’t going to tell him anything and that he had a right to free speech. He also said the RCMP were just out to convict a poor old man.

“You’re rotten to the core,” Cantelo said.

At one point, he called the RCMP a “bunch of bastards” and he refused to give them a breathalyzer sample.

“I don’t give a s---,” he said.

Eventually, he did give two breath samples that were more than 1.5 times the legal limit.

The court also watched video of an interview the RCMP did with Cantelo the day after his arrest in which he was calm and appeared relaxed with his hands crossed behind his head as he sat back in his chair.

Although he did answer some questions, Cantelo repeatedly said that on the advice of his lawyer he wouldn’t give them any information.

“I respect what you’re doing and respect me too,” he said.

Cantelo said he felt bad about what happened to the other people involved in the accident.

“How could I feel any other way?” he said.

When asked why he left the scene after the crash, Cantelo said he was so shaken by it that he was vibrating.

“I was a total wreck,” he said.

That was why he went home and had a few drinks.

“A couple of doubles, I guess,” he said.

But Cantelo said he didn’t drink a drop before the accident and was sober when it happened.

As for his version of events, they differed from the other evidence that indicated he pulled out into the middle of the road in front of the motorcycle.

Despite eyewitness testimony and damage to the front of the van, Cantelo said that wasn’t what happened and he didn’t see the motorcycle until it hit the back of his van, possibly on the trailer hitch.

“I really think you’ve got it wrong,” he said to the RCMP.

Cantelo’s girlfriend, Winnifred Murphy, also testified and told the court she thought he had been drinking earlier in the day before he left her house.

Murphy said she thought he slurred a few words when they were talking a few hours before the accident and she thought he had probably been drinking.

At one point after the accident, Cantelo went into the house where he talked to Murphy about things exploding and dropping from the sky, which made her think he was drunk, she said.

Murphy said she didn’t realize at the time that he had even left the yard because he had been working in the garage.

The trial continues this morning.

 

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

Organizations: RCMP

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