Darryl Storey leaves the courthouse during a break in his trial Monday.
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While they couldn’t agree on a colour, witnesses in a police officer’s criminal negligence trial all said they saw an unmarked police cruiser speeding without lights or sirens minutes before a fatal collision.
OPP Sgt. Darryl Storey was charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death in December 2008. The incident involved a two-vehicle crash that led to the death of 18-year-old Jasmine Veneruzzo.
The St. Patrick High School student was pronounced dead at the scene after her yellow Pontiac Sunfire and an unmarked police cruiser collided at the corner of Twin City Crossroads and Highway 11-17.
Storey was in Superior Court Monday.
The court heard from more than half a dozen witnesses who claim they saw an unmarked cruiser speeding West on different parts of the highway east of Twin City Crossroads.
Lorrine Gaye McKay said she was driving her daughter to the Thunder Bay Christian School when an unmarked blue or green cruiser passed her on the right just west of the Harbour Expressway and Hwy 11/17 intersection.
“I’ve never seen a car be able to accelerate like that,” she told the court. “It took off like a shot.
Julie Shields was waiting to turn east from Mapleward Road when she saw a red car in the westbound lane. Shields said for some reason she paused for a minute before turning.
That’s when she saw an unmarked black cop car come out of nowhere and pass the red car from the lane she was about to turn into. Shields said the speed, which she estimated could have been 200 kilometres an hour, shocked her.
“I didn’t see it at all until it passed the red car. It just flew by it like it was nothing,” she said. “I’ve never seen a car go that fast.”
Upsala’s Curtis Gartshore, who was driving his wife into Thunder Bay, said he noticed the car speeding near Mapleward as well.
“I told her ‘I wonder why he doesn’t have his lights on.” Gartshore told the court.
Witnesses said that road conditions were good that day and the weather was clear.
Storey’s lawyer Leo Kinahan compared the witnesses’ answers on the stand with statements they made to investigators from the Special Investigation Unit in the weeks following the crash. He noted there appeared to be discrepancies on the location where some of the witnesses said they spotted the vehicle, and the speed that the vehicle was allegedly travelling.
The trial continues Tuesday.
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