Editor’s note: Readers are cautioned that this story contains graphic descriptions of a traffic fatality.
The trial for a man charged with impaired driving causing death continued in Victoria Thursday morning, with testimonies from the crash scene photographer and an eyewitness.
Taking the stand on the fourth day of Anthony Thomas’ trial, photographer Const. Bradley Walsh of the Saanich Police Department shared the photos he took the night of the fatal crash on Central Saanich Road, Aug. 27, 2018.
Among them, Walsh described the body of a barefoot deceased woman, two shoes strewn in the road and grassy shoulder, and damage to the front end and hood of a red Jeep. Having photographed the interior of the Jeep as well, Walsh was asked about the insurance documents he found inside the glove box.
“Anthony Thomas’ name did not appear on any documents as I recall,” he told the court.
Offering more details was the trial’s second civilian eyewitness, Garrett Walters, who testified he was driving south from Swartz Bay with his family along Central Saanich Road when he saw the crash.
Walters recalled watching in shock as a red SUV travelling in the same direction two vehicles ahead slowly veered across the oncoming lane and onto the opposite shoulder, before bumping up and down three or four times, briefly speeding up then coming to an abrupt stop.
Walters immediately pulled over his vehicle and ran up to the scene.
“There was a woman lying on the road face down. There was another woman lying behind the car that had been in the accident and she was quite clearly deceased,” he testified. Walters also recalled seeing two young men, one crouched over the deceased woman, and one standing at the passenger-side door of the vehicle.
Walters said the second man asked him if anyone had called 911, and he replied yes. Walters said he then glanced down at the still-alive woman in the middle of the road, and when he looked back up the man was gone.
People began to gather at the scene, and Walters said he remembers a woman yelling out “Oh my god, is this my family?” He said he didn’t know whether she meant the women or the drivers.
Police arrived soon after.
Testifying Wednesday, Walters’ mother Lorraine Murphy, who was in the passenger seat of Walters’ car, said she thought the bumping motion of the red SUV was caused from a series of large rocks that lined the shoulder of the road. On Thursday though, Walters said in retrospect he thinks the bumps may have been from the driver striking the women and their dogs.
Also different from his mother’s testimony, Walters noted that the red SUV sped up right before it came to a stop.
“You could hear the car rev,” Walters said.
Thomas faces a slew of charges in the deaths of 51-year-old Kim Ward and her dog, and critical injury of Tracey Ward. The two sisters were walking their dogs along Central Saanich Road between Mount Newton Cross Road and East Saanich Road, when they were struck by the driver of a red Jeep.
Kim Ward was pronounced dead at the scene, while her sister Tracy Ward, then 48, was taken to hospital in critical condition. One of their two dogs also died.
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