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‘I was going to initiate CPR... It was too late’
A witness testifying in the hit-and-run trial of Cory Sater described a chaotic scene in the moments after the collision that killed two people and left a third seriously injured.
Paulette Baker testified that she was driving to her Abbotsford home after a church function in Coquitlam when she noticed several vehicles parked on either side of Lougheed Highway near Pitt River Road.
When she saw two bodies lying on the ground, the 45-year-old nurse quickly got out of her van to see if she could help the victims. The first person she saw was Charlene Reaveley, who was covered in a blanket a short distance from Lorraine Cruz.
“There was no pulse,” Baker told the court. “Then I pulled the blanket past her chest. I was going to initiate CPR... Another gentleman said it was too late.”
The witness, who was emotional at times during her testimony, said she then concentrated her efforts on consoling another man at the scene.
“There was another gentleman who was in shock,” she said. “I pulled him aside and tried to help calm him down… I was trying to make sense of everything.”
At that point, she noticed a third victim, Paulo Calimbahin, who was alive and conscious.
“He was yelling, ‘Please help my girlfriend,’” she said.
Baker told the court it took emergency crews between five and seven minutes to arrive after she pulled over to assist.
Charlene Reaveley and her husband Dan Reaveley and friends Giacomo deBenedictis and Kimberly Moore (now deBenedictis), were driving home from a night out on Feb. 19, 2011 when they witnessed an SUV crash into the median at Lougheed Highway near Pitt River Road.
The court earlier heard that Charlene was comforting Cruz, the victim of the initial crash, when both were struck and killed. Calimbahin, Cruz’s boyfriend, was seriously injured and has had his foot amputated as a result of the collision.
Sater is facing 10 charges related to the incident and is alleged to have been drinking the night of the crash.
Crown counsel Chris McPherson told reporters earlier in the trial that the prosecution will be presenting evidence that the accused had consumed six double rye and cokes and two Jägerbombs — a mix of Jägermeister and Red Bull — prior to the incident.
Two hours after the crash, a white 1995 Jeep Cherokee was found abandoned in the Cape Horn area of Coquitlam. Sater was arrested a day after the collision.
On Monday, the court also heard from two other witnesses who were driving through the area but left before the hit-and-run took place.
Grace Strukoff and her son Dan both witnessed the first SUV collide with the median. Dan, who was 16 at the time, got out of his mother’s Chevrolet Uplander to see if anyone needed help. When it was clear that Calimbahin and Cruz were being assisted, the court heard, he got back into the car and told his mom that everything was OK and they could continue on their way home.
Neither of the Strukoffs heard the fatal collision or noticed any vehicles fleeing past them as they headed south on Lougheed Highway.
The trial continues.