As the attempted murder trial of an Okanagan man continues to play out in a Kelowna courtroom, a clearer picture has been painted of the dangers faced by countless people on the roads on July 31, 2012.
Crown counsel Murray Kaay has now had a chance to bring forth dozens of witnesses who offered their view of the chase.
While some spoke merely to the shock they faced when the vehicle Michael Ellis was accused of driving careened by at dangerously high speeds, others recounted interactions with Ellis as he held them at gunpoint or allegedly shot at them.
One of the witnesses who faced the barrel of a gun, is Don Williamson.
His black truck was the last vehicle the carjackers successfully took off with.
“Get the f**k out of that truck,” he recalled being told by Ellis, in a menacing manner.
“Get the f**k out now.”
Then one of Ellis’s accomplices, presumably Shawn Adam Wysinski, swung a gun toward him.
“The gun was dark… it wasn’t very long,” said Willamson.
“What caught my attention the most was the white ball with the little red lines through it…all I know is that this looks like a laser to me.”
As Williamson got out of the truck, Ellis got into the driver’s side.
Wysinski was already in the passenger’s side at that point.
“At that time I didn’t realize it was the truck he wanted,” he said. “I thought he was going to take me out for whatever reason.”
Then he saw the woman, fitting Ashley Collins’s description, try to get into the cab of the truck.
The truck lurched, and she was almost knocked out, then upon a second attempt she made it in.
“What the f**k,” Williamson shouted, approaching the vehicle with his hands forward.
Ellis, he said, replied with, “we don’t want to hurt anybody.”
“Then I stopped. Took a step backward and watched them take my truck and drive away,” Williamson said. Then he went into the red truck that the car-jackers had left behind.
Once inside he made a discovery.
There were live rounds everywhere, and a few empty casings.
There was a black package, estimated to be 10 by 12 inches in size. Inside it was a smaller satchel of ammunition.
Williamson hitchhiked home with it, later turning it over to police.
As Kaay has presented Crown’s case, there have been several unusual examples of the community’s role in the case.
A B.C. Ministry of Transportation worker came upon Mounties who had lost their car keys in the middle of the road, stopping their chase. He found the keys for them, then they took off after Ellis.
One of the flaggers at his worksite came across a sawed-off gun that Mounties hadn’t found and took it to police three days after the chase.
Ellis faces 22 charges, five of which are attempted murder.
The trial is scheduled to continue for several more weeks.
Collins, 21, and Wysinski 34, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in June and are expected to be sentenced in October.