Former RCMP Inspect. Tim Walton ties police tape at the scene of a multi-vehicle collision at the intersection of Cliffe Avenue and 26th Street July 26, 2016. Black Press File Photo

Former RCMP Inspect. Tim Walton ties police tape at the scene of a multi-vehicle collision at the intersection of Cliffe Avenue and 26th Street July 26, 2016. Black Press File Photo

Trial to conclude Wednesday for Comox Valley driver of vehicle involved in pedestrian death

The woman involved in a trial for a multi-vehicle collision in which a pedestrian was killed two years ago in Courtenay admitted she was aware she was over the legal limit for alcohol prior to driving.

Serina Laliberte – who took 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 pled 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. The male pedestrian later died in hospital.

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

The trial began last month and was scheduled for five days in Courtenay Supreme Court, but was carried over to Oct. 2 and 3 as both the defence and Crown agreed they needed more time.

On Tuesday, Laliberte, 48, took the stand as her lawyer Eric Chesterley questioned her medical background, particularly her history with diabetes.

She noted she found out she had type 2 diabetes in 2013 but admitted she did not regularly take Metformin, her diabetes medication. The night before the incident, she said she slept periodically throughout the night and did not eat breakfast or take her medication.

Laliberte testified she had “two or three” drinks during the evening of July 25, 2016 while socializing with her mother-in-law. Her last drink that evening was a water bottle filled with vodka and pop. She said she didn’t finish the final drink, and placed the water bottle back in the fridge.

On the morning of July 26, while waiting for her friends for a day at Comox Lake, Laliberte took the water bottle and poured its contents into a coffee cup, in which she was “sipping on the drink poured from the previous night.”

As her friends arrived, she took them on a tour of her house and backyard, and “downed (what was left in the cup) before we left.”

Chesterley questioned if she felt the effects of the vodka and mixer prior to getting into her vehicle, which she replied she did not, and asked if she felt her ability to drive was impaired.

“I don’t think so,” she replied.

During cross-examination, Crown attorney Richard Ellsay pressed Laliberte to determine how much she drank regularly, particularly after she was diagnosed as a diabetic. She explained it varied on the week – sometimes it was twice a week and other times it was four or fives times a week.

Laliberte said she tried to change her drinking pattern after her diagnosis, as her doctor at the time warned her it was best to drink in moderation.

He questioned her on how much vodka was in the water bottle from which she was drinking. She said at least half was filled with vodka, and said it was roughly 8 to 10 ounces during the span of a couple of hours while waiting for her friend.

She testified there was more alcohol content than mix, but added she had never blacked out from drinking.

“You were aware you were over (the blood alcohol limit)?” questioned Ellsay.

“Yea, I guess – didn’t even think about it.”

Laliberte explained in front of the court she believes she blacked out as her last memory prior to “coming to near a big white truck I crashed into” was driving north into Courtenay while approaching the intersection at Cliffe Avenue and Anfield Road.

Laliberte provided a roadside breathalyzer and failed.

The verdict for the trial is set for November.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Karilyn, right, with her older sister, Sabrina. Both siblings are members of the YANA family, after being helped by the community organization on separate occasions. Photo supplied
Siblings both members of the YANA family

Comox Valley non-profit helped Geiger family on separate occasions

A second-floor balcony continues to smoulder after a fire extinguisher was used to get a small balcony fire under control at the Washington Inn Apartments. Brian Hayward, who lives on the third floor, was alerted to the fire by the smell of smoke wafting into his apartment. Photo by Brian Hayward.
Courtenay firefighters respond to balcony fire at Washington Inn Apartments

Firefighters were called out to the Washington Inn Apartments Sunday, April 17,… Continue reading

RCMP forensics investigators scour the site north of Highland School in Comox, where multiple people were stabbed during a party Saturday night, April 16. Photo by Terry Farrell
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Comox bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault near Highland Secondary

Cumberland is surrounded by trees — and logging. Its council is supporting a call to stop old-growth logging in vulnerable areas of the province such as Fairy Creek. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Cumberland backs request to save B.C.’s old-growth forests

The Comox Youth Climate Council is asking local governments to take stand

Danita Bilozaze and her daughter Dani in Comox. Photo by Karen McKinnon
Valley woman makes historic name change for truth and reconciliation

First in Canada to be issued new passport under the TRC Calls to Action

Pub patio in Victoria reopens with widely spaced tables, June 2020. Restaurants and pubs across are restricted to take-out and patio service only until May 25 at the earliest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Don’t travel outside your region, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to target people ages 40+ in ‘high risk communities’ with AstraZeneca vaccine

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Most Read