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2014-03-20 at 15:22

Fate of a man accused in a fatal hit-and-run to be known in May

By Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
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A decision on an alleged fatal hit-and-run case from 2010 is now expected in May, nearly four-and-a-half years after the initial incident.

Submissions were made Monday in the case of Christian Hernandez, who is charged with impaired driving and failure to remain at the scene where 45-year-old Richard Carmichael died as the result of injuries sustained in a collision.

According to an agreed statement of facts, a witness called police just after 3 a.m. on Dec. 19, 2010 and said there was a body laying in the road on High Street near the Van Norman Street intersection.

Emergency crews found a man laying on his stomach on top of a pool of blood.

Paramedics took him to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and arrived at 3:55 a.m.

Carmichael was pronounced dead at 3:58 a.m.

According to the autopsy report, Carmichael died following a collapsed lung from multiple injuries caused by blunt force trauma.

Carmichael had been wearing all dark clothing and a friend testified they too had drinks at the Shoreline Hotel that evening.

The judge also ruled that breath samples Hernandez gave at the Thunder Bay Police Station on Dec. 19 to be admissible.

At 4:58 a.m., Hernandez had 140 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milligrams of blood in his system; at 5:19 a.m., he had 120 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milligrams of blood.

Crown attorney Trevor Jukes argued Thursday morning that Hernandez was willfully blind to the fact that he had struck Carmichael before driving to his home on Shuniah Street.

Pictures of the vehicle show damage, including a smashed windshield.

Jukes also argues that Hernandez failed to remain at the scene to avoid civil or criminal liability.

Earlier in the trial Hernandez had said he thought he hit a deer. Jukes said the area is in the middle of the city and is surrounded by people.

Hernadez' lawyer, Mary Bird, said a reconstruction of the accident showed there was nothing Hernandez could have done to avoid Carmichael, who was dressed in black.

"With all due respect to the deceased he was likely more at fault," she said.

As for Hernandez's claim that he originally thought he hit an animal, Bird said Thunder Bay has so much wildlife the city had to pass a by-law to allow deer hunting in city limits.

While Hernandez did leave the scene, once he saw the damage and realized what had happened his girlfriend, now wife, called 911 right away and was cooperative, which doesn't show a person trying to avoid liability.

"He's clearly not trying to hide anything," she said.

Justice Joyce Pelletier will make her decision and be back in court May 13.

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