Gasps echoed in court Wednesday as an expert in calculating the velocity of vehicles from video, described how a dark coloured SUV accelerated to more than 90 km/h as it passed another vehicle, approaching the crosswalk where Leila Bui was hit on Dec. 20, 2017.
Tenessa Nikirk of North Saanich is charged with one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm in relation to the Saanich crash that left Bui severely debilitated, with severe brain injuries and multiple internal injuries.
Adam Cybanski told the courts that he calculated the speed of Nikirk’s vehicle by using four dash cam videos provided to him by Saanich police; two from one car that were pointed out the front and the back windows, along with two videos taken from cameras on a bus, which faced out the front and left side.
Cybanski spent 28 years in the Canadian Armed Forces and was put in charge of aircraft accident investigations. From there he developed expertise in analyzing video and determining velocity of air crafts from videos. He has been called to testify in a number of court cases across Canada and in the United States.
A large portion of the morning was spent detailing the method Cybanski uses to calculate the speed of vehicles based on frames taken from a video. Usually videos take 30 frames per second, which was true in the case of the dash-cam video from the car, but not in the case of the footage from the bus’s video which had 30 frames per second but most were duplicates.
He runs a small business focusing on velocity analysis from video and estimates he’s been involved with 50 to 60 investigations. In a previous ruling, a judge noted Cybanski’s methods are not an exact science to which he stated his methods are based on exact science, but could not answer whether they were or were not exact.
Using two software programs to track stationary objects such as telephone poles or yellow centre lines in the video, Cybanski is able to create a model match of the scene. A video shown in court Wednesday, created by Cybanski, showed yellow and green models superimposed that matched the cars and points of reference in the original footage.
According to Cybanski’s findings, the rear facing camera in the vehicle showed the SUV accelerating from 50 km/h to 90 km/h and the forward facing camera showed the SUV accelerating from 95 km/h to 100 km/h. He testified his calculations were accurate within two km/h.
The bus’s dash-cam footage showed the SUV passed the bus at about 80 km/h, which Cybanski testified there was a greater margin of error, closer to 5 km/h, because of the lack of frames per second.
Cybanski was also asked to determine the distance of the SUV when it came to a stop at the far end of the crosswalk on Ash Road. Using the same method he testified he calculated the rear bumper of the SUV was 18 to 20 meters beyond the edge of the crosswalk.
On Monday court heard from a number of witnesses who recounted Nikirk’s erratic driving just before the crash. Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since the morning she was struck on her way to school.
Bui’s father Tuan says the family relies on faith and hope, and the belief that their daughter will come back.
“It’s hard to know what’s happening inside her,” he says. “So we just continue to take good care of her, give her love and support and positive energy and whatever it takes to get one step closer.”
— With files from Nina Grossman