Testimony focuses on data recorder at Collicutt trial

Published on September 13, 2017

Wednesday was Day 3 of Gregory Stuart Collicutt’s dangerous driving causing death trial in Summerside. A data recording device, shown here, played an important role in the Crown’s case.

©Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – Two-and-a-half seconds worth of data.

A lot is resting on those paltry moments in the dangerous driving causing death case against Gregory Stuart Collicutt, of O’Leary.

Those seconds were discussed thoroughly Wednesday, the third day of the Supreme Court jury trial in Summerside.

Collicutt was charged following a two-vehicle collision on Oct. 9, 2015, in Central Bedeque. His car collided with another at the intersection of Route 1A and Route 10.

The driver of the second vehicle, Dorothy Mae Mayhew, 67, of Lady Fane, was killed.  

Much of Wednesday’s testimony revolved around the ‘black box’ data recorder and the RCMP report it was attached to.

Such recorders are designed to collect relevant data on what is happening in a vehicle up to the point when its airbags are deployed. At that point it freezes its data and it cannot be overwritten or deleted. Special equipment is needed to read it.

RCMP Const. Frank Stevenson collected the data from the recorder recovered from Collicutt’s vehicle (though that is under dispute by the defence). He testified the recorder he examined contained two-and-a-half seconds of data. He saved a photo image of that information and sent it to RCMP Sgt. Rick Younker for analysis.

Younker’s report said that just before the vehicle’s airbags deployed, it was travelling between 95 and 117.13 km/h. He also said the vehicle’s accelerator was “to the floor” and that the brakes had not engaged prior to the collision.

RCMP Const. Mike Bouvier, a vehicle collision analyst who examined the crash scene, testified his analysis showed Collicutt’s vehicle, a 2006 Chevy Impala, exited Route 10 and struck Mayhew’s 2000 Toyota Echo as she was travelling along Route 1A.

“It was a high-speed collision,” said Bouvier.

Peter Ghiz, Collicutt’s defence attorney, has questioned whether the black box being used in the Crown’s case is even the same one that was present in Collicutt’s vehicle at the time of the crash.

Ghiz has also, during his cross-examinations, questioned witnesses as to what they know about what was happening inside Collicutt’s car leading up to and during the crash.

Bouvier acknowledged he had no way of having that information, but also cautioned this was not his role in the case.

“So you can’t eliminate an innocent accident?” Ghiz asked.

“I can’t eliminate whether pedal (accelerator) misapplication was a contributing factor,” responded Bouvier.

Crown attorney John Diamond wrapped up his case Wednesday, calling his final witnesses. They included pathologist Dr. Kristen Mead, who conducted Mayhew’s autopsy and determined she died from injuries sustained in the crash.

The defence starts its case this morning.