Kelowna Court House. File pic

Trial hears dramatic evidence of RCMP pursuit in Cap News carrier case

Donald Brodie on trial in Kelowna courts into the accident that seriously injured one man

A police officer ripped a letter in half after receiving it from the man accused of injuring a former Capital News carrier with a car, a B.C. Supreme Court trial heard Wednesday.

RCMP officer Kyle Peers was on the witness stand, testifying about a letter that blamed him and other officers for causing the vehicle to hit and seriously injure the carrier near Highway 33 on Dec. 6, 2013.

The impact broke Steve Kania’s leg, put him in a coma and he suffered a serious brain injury.

Donald Brodie is on trial by judge alone, charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm and flight causing bodily harm.

“After reading it I was upset and angry that this was written to me,” said Peers about ripping up the letter.

Nathan Fahl was originally charged with driving the vehicle, but the investigation took a turn when Brodie told police that he was the driver on Dec. 21, 2013.

The letter sent to officer Peers is not the only letter that has come up in the trial.

In June 2014, Brodie sent handwritten letters to several local media outlets from prison where he said he accepted fault for the incident and blamed RCMP for chasing him that night. Those letters were ruled inadmissible as confessions by a Supreme Court judge last week.

As the trial continued Wednesday, Peers said he stopped his police cruiser at the intersection of Dundas and Dundee Roads in an attempt to stop the suspect vehicle as it drove eastbound on Dundee with other police in pursuit.

At the intersection, Peers said he saw vehicle headlights coming towards him.

“I made an attempt to block the road when I saw the vehicle coming towards me and I was unable to get in the proper position,” he said. “I just wanted to block the intersection in an attempt to make the vehicle stop.”

He braced for impact, and the vehicle went around the front of his police car, he said.

“It went on to the curb and grass,” he said, saying the suspect vehicle did not slow down as it approached his cruiser.

“Were you aware of the pedestrian in the vicinity when you placed your vehicle in the position you did?” asked Crown counsel David Grabavac.

Peers said no.

Grabavac asked if Peers attempted to play chicken with the suspect vehicle to which Peers also said no.

RCMP officer Trish Waugh was also called to the stand. She said she pursued the suspect vehicle in her police car as it turned off of Leathead Road onto Lester Road before continuing through Rutland.

“I do recall looking at my speedometer two times and I was going 60 and another time around 80,” she said. The vehicle was still speeding away from her, she said.

Waugh said she was three to four car lengths away from the vehicle but lost sight of it as it made its way along Davis Road.

After hearing over the police radio the vehicle had struck a pedestrian, she went to the intersection and recognized the car at the scene as the suspect vehicle.

“The person you described as Mr. Brodie, would you recognize him if you saw him in court?” said Grabavac.

“Yes,” said Waugh.

“He’s sitting right across from me in a red shirt.”

The trial continues this week.