The man accused of fatally injuring Comox Valley cyclist and teacher Paul Bally told court under cross examination he has come to accept that it was his truck that struck Bally on the evening of Dec. 15, 2014 in Fanny Bay.
Timothy Prad, 56, took the stand for about half an hour as defence attorney Doug Marion’s first witness Wednesday morning at the Courtenay courthouse.
Prad pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving causing death, and failure to stop at an accident causing bodily harm in the incident in which Bally was struck by a southbound vehicle on Highway 19A near Curran Road.
When asked to describe the drive to his house in Bowser after dropping his friend off at her home in Fanny Bay, Prad told Marion he saw lights from a nearby mill on the lefthand side of his truck through the trees just prior to the incident.
“I was looking that way – then thump. There was something over there that I was looking at. Thump and I looked and saw something from the front window – brownish and then I thought, ‘Oh my god I hit a deer.’ ”
He added he couldn’t recall how long his attention was diverted when he heard the thump against his truck.
He told court he stopped his truck, pulled over and walked to the back of the truck and didn’t see or hear anything. He then walked to the front to assess a broken headlight, and “got (back) in the truck then drove home thinking how I could fix the headlight.”
Under cross examination, Crown attorney John Boccabella questioned Prad’s statement to police on Dec. 17, 2014, shortly after he was arrested at his home, asking why he told Const. Jonathan Grab of the Comox Valley RCMP he didn’t have anything to drink the evening of the incident.
Boccabella noted Prad drove his friend home on Dec. 14 about half an hour after consuming one beer.
“I’m suggesting you had alcohol in your system and you wanted nothing to do with what happens next.”
“No – I had one beer,” he insisted.
“I had one beer; I didn’t think it was a big deal,” added Prad, who previously told court he had consumed “about seven beers” in a two-hour time span prior to his arrest on Dec. 17.
“Why lie about it?” pressed Boccabella repeatedly. “Because you had more that evening. Is that your motive for leaving the scene?”
“No. I was very upset and very emotional.”
After nearly two hours under cross-examination, Prad told court immediately following the impact, he stopped his truck about 100 metres from the impact zone.
“You go to look, but you know there’s no chance to see anything in the dark?” asked Boccabella.
“It’s really dark – yes.”
Crown further pressed Prad what he was thinking he could see from 100 metres away.
“Having a look from there is like not having a look at all?”
“Yes,” replied Prad. “Everything said to go home.”
Earlier in the day, Judge Peter Doherty confirmed his decision on the initial voir dire to allow a series of re-creation videos of the incident created by the Comox Valley RCMP to be admitted as evidence in the trial.
Both Crown and defence are expected to present their final submissions Thursday, with a verdict expected in the new year.