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Friends: Sater didn’t look drunk on accident evening
Two men who were drinking with Cory Sater the night he was allegedly behind the wheel in a deadly hit-and-run testified in court this week that they could not recall how much alcohol the man consumed that evening.
Surveillance video footage played during the BC Supreme Court trial of Sater on charges related to the hit-and-run deaths on Feb. 19, 2011 of Charlene Reaveley and Lorraine Cruz showed Sater in Burnaby’s Lougheed Village Bar and Grill with his cousin, Troy McClure, in the hours leading up to the crash. The pair were joined by Lloyd Smith, a friend who was later seen leaving the bar with Sater.
“I really wasn’t watching what he was drinking,” Smith testified Wednesday. “It looked like a Coke.”
Earlier in the trial, Crown counsel Chris McPherson submitted as evidence a bar tab that showed six double rye and Cokes and two Jägerbombs — a mix of Jägermeister and Red Bull. Both McClure and Smith said they only drank beer that evening.
Smith also testified that he left with Sater to head to another bar and that the defendant was driving his white Jeep Cherokee at all times.
The prosecution contends that Sater was under the influence of alcohol and was behind the wheel when Charlene Reaveley and Lorraine Cruz were struck and killed on Lougheed Highway near Pitt River Road. The collision also left a third victim, Cruz’s boyfriend Paulo Calimbahin, seriously injured.
Smith told the court on Wednesday that he had been living in the Lougheed Village area, near Lougheed Town Centre, at the time of the incident and was a regular at the pub.
The night of the crash, he was unemployed and low on money. He said he only met up with McClure and Sater after the pair told him in a phone conversation that they would pay for his drinks.
McClure, who also said he was a regular at the Village Pub, also testified that Sater did not appear to be drunk when he saw him.
The surveillance footage showed that McClure left before Sater and Smith, and the witness said he could not recall the defendant’s demeanour that night.
“When I seen him, he was sober,” he said in a police statement that was read at the trial. “When I was with Cory, he was fine.”
Tensions between the families of the victims, who have been watching the trial since it began last week, and the accused were on display this week.
Dan Reaveley, the husband of one of the victims, was seen crossing the courtroom barrier known as the bar prior to the resumption of the proceedings Wednesday afternoon. He was quickly ushered back to the viewing gallery, where he had a whispered conversation with defence lawyer Tony Serka. Reaveley later told reporters that Sater had made a comment to Charlene Reaveley’s cousin outside the courtroom. He said he told Serka that the defendant should not be speaking to any family members.
The trial continues.
Dan and Charlene Reaveley were traveling home after a night out with friends Giacomo deBenedictis and Kimberly Moore (now deBenedictis) on Feb. 19, 2011 when the group witnessed a Nissan Pathfinder crash into a median at Lougheed and Pitt River Road. The group rushed to assist the occupants of the vehicle, Cruz and Calimbahin, and helped them get out of the SUV.
Charlene Reaveley was comforting Cruz next to the scene when they were both struck and killed. Calimbahin was also hit and had his leg amputated as a result of the collision.
Two hours after the crash, a white 1995 Jeep Cherokee was found abandoned in the Cape Horn area. Coquitlam RCMP made a public appeal for the driver to come forward and Sater was arrested the day after the incident.