On July 26, 2016, a Nissan Pathfinder travelling in the northbound lane on Cliffe Avenue was involved in a multi-vehicle collision and struck and killed a pedestrian. Black Press file photo

Courtenay trial for driver of vehicle involved in pedestrian death to continue next month

The trial for a woman involved in a multi-vehicle collision in which a pedestrian was killed two years ago in Courtenay will continue next month.

The case, which began Monday, was set to conclude Friday, but both Crown and defence lawyers agreed more time was needed.

Serena Laliberte – who was set to take the stand for the defence – is facing nine charges, including impaired driving causing death, causing an accident resulting in death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

She has pleaded not guilty to all nine charges.

On July 26, 2016, a Nissan Pathfinder travelling in the northbound lane on Cliffe Avenue struck a pedestrian, proceeded to hit two other vehicles near the intersection and then crashed into parked cars in a nearby parking lot.

A male pedestrian in his early 70s was rushed to hospital, along with the drivers of two other vehicles stopped at the intersection of Cliffe Avenue and 26th Street.

On Friday, court heard from RCMP Corp. Jason Jenkins of the Major Crime Unit who took the stand while Crown attorney Richard Ellsay played the audio recording from the RCMP station following Laliberte’s arrest and subsequent questioning.

In the audio, Laliberte could be heard crying and telling Jenkins she is sorry for what happened.

She told him she suffers from high blood pressure and has Type 2 diabetes, but is not taking insulin.

Asked why by Jenkins, Laliberte said: “I don’t want to poke myself.”

She explained earlier in the day of the incident, she was waiting for a friend to arrive from Nanoose Bay so the two of them could spend the afternoon at Comox Lake.

While waiting for her friend to arrive, Laliberte noted she had a vodka-based drink, but was unsure of the time when she drank it. She added she had not eaten any food throughout the day, but consumed some water.

She and her friend then left her home and headed northbound on Cliffe Avenue with the intention of initially stopping at a dollar store.

“I remember seeing the Walmart intersection. My friend Jody said I just blacked out. Then I came to and I was crashed and someone told me I killed somebody.”

Laliberte provided a roadside breathalyzer and failed, but told Jenkins she had only consumed one drink.

“It was a fair size (drink); it took probably an hour (to drink).”

Jenkins asked her if she felt any effects of her diabetes throughout the day.

“I don’t know. I felt fine.”

He questioned if she had ever previously blacked out from drinking, to which she replied she had not. She told him the one time she recalled blacking out was when she was in her early 20s and had not eaten.

During the audio playback, Laliberte sat in the prisoner’s box and followed along with a printed transcription and wiped away tears with a tissue as she began to cry.

At the judge’s request, both Crown and defence lawyer Eric Chesterley conferred about how to proceed as Chesterley asked Laliberte be called to testify.

They concluded to postpone the defence’s evidence and submissions from both lawyers to Oct. 2 and 3.



erin.haluschak@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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