Sater found guilty in fatal hit-and-run in Coquitlam

Charlene Reaveley, left, and Lorraine Cruz were both killed instantly when they were struck by a vehicle driven by Cory Sater in February, 2011.  - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
Charlene Reaveley, left, and Lorraine Cruz were both killed instantly when they were struck by a vehicle driven by Cory Sater in February, 2011.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

The man accused of killing two women in a deadly hit-and-run collision in Coquitlam has been found guilty of impaired driving and dangerous driving causing death.

Cory Sater was behind the wheel travelling south on Lougheed Highway when he struck and killed Charlene Reaveley and Lorraine Cruz in February 2011. A third victim, Paulo Calimbahin, lost his leg in the incident.

On Monday, Justice James Williams agreed with the Crown's assertions that Sater had consumed six double rye and Cokes and two Jagerbombs prior to getting behind the wheel.

A driver that was not impaired, the judge stated, would have been able to see the two women on the road and safely negotiate the hazard.

"There is no reason available to explain why Mr. Sater failed to react," Williams said in his decision. "The only conclusion I can draw is that his faculties were compromised."

The night of the incident, Cruz and Calimbahin had been involved in a minor collision at Lougheed and Pitt River Road. Reaveley, her husband Dan and two friends had witnessed the accident and were helping Cruz and Calimbahin when the deadly crash occurred.

In total, Sater was found guilty of six charges on Monday: two counts each of impaired driving and dangerous driving causing death and one count each of impaired driving and dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

Earlier in the trial, the defendant reversed his not guilty plea on one count of fleeing the scene of an accident. The Crown also dropped two counts of operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level above .08.

Williams said in most cases, proving a count of impaired driving requires a breathalyzer reading or blood test showing the accused's blood-alcohol level. Because Sater fled the scene, no evidence of that nature was available.

However, video footage showing Sater sitting at the bar consuming his beverages prior to the collision, along with a bill he signed for the eight drinks, supports the Crown's assertions, Williams said.

The judge also noted the testimony at trial of several pub staffers, who told the court that they had ceased serving Sater that night because he appeared to be innebriated.

Dan Reaveley, the husband of one of the victims, said he hoped the verdict would make people think twice before getting behind the wheel when they have been drinking.

"It's nice to know there's a little accountability," he said, after Williams read his decision.

Sater is expected to be sentenced on March 31.

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