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Eyewitness testifies in impaired driving trial that left woman dead in Central Saanich

Witness saw two bodies, one dog on the road after red SUV veered over center line
Kim Ward, 51, was struck and killed by a vehicle while walking in Central Saanich in 2018. The trial for the man charged with causing her death, Anthony Thomas, began Jan. 17 in Victoria. (Courtesy of Triathlon Canada)

Wednesday morning attendees at the Anthony Thomas impaired driving trial heard from an eyewitness for the first time who recounted the 2018 Central Saanich crash that left one woman dead and another in critical condition.

Thomas faces charges of impaired and dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm, and causing an accident resulting in death. His trial began Monday.

Appearing in court virtually, Lorraine Murphy is the first civilian to have testified.

On the afternoon of Aug. 27, 2018, Murphy said, her son picked her up from the Swartz Bay ferry terminal and was driving her back to his home. A resident of Ontario, Murphy said she doesn’t know the area too well, but remembers travelling south when her son pointed out a southbound car ahead of them veering to the left.

“We were just having a conversation and then my son said, ‘what’s that idiot doing in the middle of the road?’” Murphy recalled.

READ ALSO: Driver charged in Central Saanich pedestrian’s death appears in court

Murphy, who was seated in the passenger seat, testified that she watched as the vehicle – a red SUV – veered all the way across the road into a grassy shoulder, where it turned parallel to the road and began bouncing up and down.

“I could hear crashing as it went up and down – crash, crash, crash – and then it stopped,” Murphy said. She said her son quickly pulled onto the side of the road, across from the entrance to a mobile home park, and got out to look. Murphy also got out of the vehicle and peered across the road to see what had happened.

“What I saw was a person lying in the middle of the road,” Murphy told the court, estimating she was 10 to 15 metres away. She saw the red SUV on the other side of the road and what looked like another person on the ground below the back, far end of the vehicle, she said.

She saw what she thought was a dead dog a little ways south of the vehicle and noticed a line of large rocks along the grassy shoulder, which she determined must have caused the vehicle to bounce up and down.

That evening, sisters Tracey and Kim Ward had been walking their dogs along Central Saanich Road, between Mount Newton Cross Road and East Saanich Road, when they were struck by a red Jeep. Kim Ward, 51, and one dog died at the scene, while Tracey Ward, then 48, was taken to hospital in critical condition.

READ ALSO: Sisters identified in fatal Central Saanich crash

Central Saanich police said the driver of the red Jeep remained at the scene and sustained minor injuries.

Monday and Tuesday’s testimony came from several RCMP lab technologists who ran drug checks on samples of Thomas’ blood. They were questioned about their actions processing and analyzing the evidence.

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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media after starting as a community reporter in Greater Victoria.
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