UPDATE: Crown wraps up case in drunk driving causing death trial

Ryan Ross
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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.

A man who was allegedly involved in an accident that killed an Englington woman would have had a blood-alcohol level almost double the legal limit, an expert testified during an impaired driving causing death trial Wednesday.

It was the third day of Raymond Alfred Cantelo's trial in P.E.I. Supreme Court where he was facing several charges, including impaired driving causing death and leaving the scene of an accident.

Cantelo is accused of pulling his van onto Peakes Road and into the path of a motorcycle Bernard and Stacy Cheverie were riding on Oct. 22, 2011.

The Crown alleges he was drinking before the accident and fled the scene.

In an attempt to prove its case, the Crown called forensic alcohol specialist Heather Copley to testify and determine what Cantelo's blood alcohol level would have been at the time of the accident.

Cantelo told the police he didn't drink any alcohol before the accident, but two witnesses testified they thought he had been drinking.

The RCMP didn't get a breathalyzer sample until about three hours after the accident and those readings were more than 1.5 times the legal limit.

Crown attorney Lisa Goulden presented Copley with two different scenarios, including one in which Cantelo didn't drink at any point between the accident and the breath samples.

Copley took a few minutes to do the necessary calculations and she presented a range that showed his blood alcohol level at the time of the crash would have been almost double the legal limit, even if the lowest number in the range was used.

On Tuesday, the court watched video of an interview between Cantelo and the RCMP during which he told the police he didn't drink before the accident but had a few after the crash.

In the Crown's second scenario, Copley calculated the blood-alcohol level if Cantelo hadn't been drinking before the accident, but drank a 200 ml bottle of whisky in the time between the crash and his arrest almost 40 minutes later.

Copley factored Cantelo's weight and height into the calculation and said with the second scenario his blood-alcohol level would have been below the legal limit three hours after the accident.

Copley's calculations for the second scenario weren't consistent with the actual breathalyzer results, she said.

On cross-examination, defence lawyer Brenda Picard presented Copley with a scenario of a driver whose blood-alcohol level was at the legal limit at the time of the accident.

In that hypothetical scenario, the driver also would have drunk 200 ml of whisky after the accident, which Copley said would have meant a blood-alcohol level slightly below the actual breathalyzer readings.

During Wednesday's proceedings the Crown also called RCMP collision analyst Const. Jeff Dow who described his conclusions about what happened on Oct. 22, 2012 and said Bernard applied the motorcycle's rear break.

The motorcycle then veered left and went on its side, he said.

Dow based his conclusion on the scrapes and gouges in the pavement on Peakes Road, along with the 21.9 metre skid mark the motorcycle left when it braked.

At one point in the slide, the motorcycle's kickstand caught in the pavement, which caused it to roll, hit something and change direction, Dow said.

Dow said he couldn't determine how fast the motorcycle was going when Bernard applied the brake, but there was no indication it was speeding.

Goulden wrapped up her case Wednesday afternoon and the trial is set to resume Thursday morning with the first defence witness.

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

 

 

 

 

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Halifax, Peakes Road

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