A police video interview of Timothy Prad – the man alleged to have fatally hit a Comox Valley cyclist – was one of two pieces of evidence entered into two separate voir dires Tuesday, the second day of an eight-day trial.
The interview, which was recorded hours after Comox Valley RCMP arrested Prad at his home in Bowser, shows Prad admitting to Const. Jonathan Grabb that he believed he hit a deer.
“I thought I hit a deer … I did not see Paul. I didn’t see him. I didn’t mean to kill Paul,” repeated Prad, as he held back tears in the interrogation video.
“He was lit up. He was doing everything right; he was lit up like a Christmas tree,” explained Grabb.
“I wasn’t on the phone … I know I didn’t drop anything. Bang. It’s all I remember,” replied a visibly upset Prad. “I’m a murderer… I should be charged with f – – -ing murder if I did this.”
Prad, 57, pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving causing death, and failure to stop at an accident causing bodily harm, in the Dec. 15, 2014 incident in which Paul Bally, an avid cyclist and teacher, was struck by a southbound vehicle on Highway 19A near Curran Road.
The interrogation video, filmed on Dec. 17, 2014 and recorded at the Comox Valley RCMP detachment, showed Prad admitting that he stopped on the shoulder of the road and got out of his vehicle. He said he waited to hear “for the crying of a deer,” but didn’t hear or see anything, and returned to his vehicle to drive home.
The interview is part of a series of four distinct statements brought forth by Crown attorney John Boccabella in the second of two voir dires – an in-trial hearing that is considered a separate hearing from the trial itself – designed to determine an issue separate from the procedure, or admissibility of evidence.
In the first voir dire presented by Crown, defence attorney Doug Marion stated his objection to a series of videos created by the Comox Valley RCMP and Const. Grabb.
The videos – created about a month after the fatal incident – were made in conjunction with factors determined from the scene reconstructionist, to have a clear sense of how Prad’s vehicle may have operated on the roadway, testified Grabb.
“We took what we know: the point of impact, jacket and clothing, what sight lines there were, what the geography was and the familiarization with the area,” he added.
Police sourced the exact vehicle used in the incident – a 2004 Ford F-350 – and a mock-up of Bally (using a firefighter mannequin along with an auxiliary constable) on a bicycle with his jacket along with the red LED light on the rear of his bike that he used on the evening he was killed.
Marion questioned Grabb’s experience in his creation of the video, as he told court through cross-examination this was his first recorded demonstration and he did not receive any formal police training in creating demonstrations.
Crown asked Judge Peter Doherty to not make a decision on the initial voir dire as Boccabella noted he will make his argument for its admissibility later in the trial.
The second voir dire, involving Prad’s interview, will continue Wednesday.
The trial is set to continue through next week.