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Men left behind in deadly hit-and-run take the stand
The husband of one of the victims of a deadly 2011 hit-and-run crash in Coquitlam said traffic on Lougheed Highway was quiet in the moments leading up to the collision that took his wife’s life.
Dan Reaveley and the group of friends he was traveling with had just witnessed an SUV strike a median and were trying to assist the couple in the vehicle.
The 31-year-old father of four told B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster that he was about to move his friend’s truck into a position that would block traffic when he heard a loud bang. When he looked up, he noticed his wife, Charlene, lying on the road next to another victim, Lorraine Cruz.
“I yelled my wife’s name,” he said. “I jumped out of the truck and ran toward her.”
There was no indication that the vehicle involved in the collision had attempted to slow down, Reaveley added, noting he did not hear any horns or the sounds of braking in the moments before impact.
Crown prosecutor Chris McPherson told the court the vehicle in question was a white Jeep Cherokee driven by Cory Sater. The prosecution contends that Sater, who is on trial facing 10 charges, had been drinking that evening and was impaired at the time of the crash.
On Feb. 18, 2011, the Reaveleys were socializing with friends Giacomo deBenedictis and Kimberly Moore (now deBenedictis). The couples had eaten dinner at a restaurant near Lougheed Highway and North Road before moving on to the Boulevard Casino. The group was heading back to the Reaveleys’ home shortly after midnight when they saw the SUV spin out of control and crash into a median.
Dan Reaveley and deBenedictis rushed to assist the couple in the vehicle, pulling Cruz and her boyfriend, Paulo Calimbahin, out of one of the windows.
Charlene Reaveley also helped, hugging and comforting Cruz, who was distraught and crying after the crash.
Earlier on Tuesday, the court heard testimony from Calimbahin, who was hurt in the hit-and-run and had his leg amputated below the knee as a result of his injuries.
He told Sater’s lawyer, Tony Serka, that he had been teaching Cruz how to drive and that she was behind the wheel at the time of the initial accident. After the SUV hit the median, he said she moved to the backseat and he moved to the driver’s seat so that he could try and get the door open.
Serka questioned Calimbahin about Cruz’s demeanour following the initial accident.
The witness told the lawyer that while Cruz was upset, she was not panicking and both of them were calm when they were standing on the roadway following the collision.
“Did you think it was dangerous to stand on the road?” Serka asked.
“We were clearly visible,” Calimbahin responded.
Calimbahin said he was knocked unconscious after being hit by the Jeep and has no recollection of events following the hit-and-run.
The trial continues.