April 14th, 2024

Carjacking trial begins with victim testimony

By Delon Shurtz on May 11, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

Wesley McNeil contemplated jumping out of his car as it was being highjacked more than a year ago, but he was too scared to with a masked man sitting behind with a machete.
“He pulled my head back and put the knife to my neck,” McNeil said Monday, on day one of the criminal trial for Cory Ray Williams, who faces numerous charges, including kidnapping, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, assault with a weapon, flight from police, dangerous driving, uttering threats, and robbery.
McNeil told court he was parked outside of a McDonald’s restaurant on 5 Avenue North at about 11 p.m. Oct. 20, 2019, when a masked man reached in through his driver’s side window and opened the door. The man held a knife against McNeil’s face, and told the driver he was going to drive him wherever he wanted to go. He then climbed into the back seat and held the knife against McNeil’s throat while McNeil drove him to a bank – where he withdrew $60 – then to the former supervised consumption site.
McNeil said the man warned him if he turned around he would cut his head off.
After the carjacker met another man at the consumption site, McNeil was ordered to drive to the Blood Reserve, but partway there he was told to turn off the highway onto a gravel road, where McNeil was told to get out of the car and start walking. His assailant then got behind the wheel and drove away, forcing McNeil to jump out of the way, before heading back toward Lethbridge.
McNeil said he managed to flag down a pickup truck heading toward Standoff, but while he was talking to the driver, the carjacker returned. McNeil jumped onto the driver’s side nerf bar and yelled for him to take off. The carjacker chased the truck at high speeds while McNeil clung to the side of the truck and the driver’s wife called 911.
“I was holding on for dear life,” McNeil recalled.
Blood Tribe Police dispatched a vehicle, which arrived shortly afterward and began to chase McNeil’s car. McNeil was dropped off at the Blood Tribe Police Service and eventually picked up by a Lethbridge officer and returned to the city.
Although McNeil was unable to describe his masked assailant, he guessed he was native by the sound of his voice.
McNeil is the first of several Crown witnesses who are expected to testify for the Crown this week.
Police reported after the incident in 2019 that another man had been attacked by a machete-wielding acquaintance shortly before McNeil was carjacked. The following day, police responded to a disturbance along 2 Avenue South where a man was wielding multiple weapons. While police were en route, additional calls came in reporting a carjacking in the 200 block of 27 Street South by a man matching the description of the subject involved in the disturbance.
Then on Oct. 23, a woman was walking from a bus stop on the northside when a man threw her to the ground and demanded she turn over her cellphone. He ran away after the scuffle, but was found later that day at a northside home and arrested. Police searched the suspect’s residence and reportedly recovered evidence of the previous offences.
The trial continues today.

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