June 24th, 2024

Woman charged in fatal collision still waiting to stand trial

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on May 30, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A new trial has yet to be scheduled for a 33-year-old woman facing charges in relation to a fatal collision with a pedestrian more than a year ago.

Bobbi Raquel Whillans was set to stand trial on May 6, but it was adjourned to allow more time for the crown and defence to iron out some details and reach an agreement on certain facts that would result in an “abbreviated three-hour trial.”

Whillans pleaded not guilty in November to charges of dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

The charges stem from a collision at the intersection of 26 Avenue and 28 Street North about 3 p.m. on Jan. 17. A 66-year-old man died and a 62-year-old woman sustained life-threatening injuries and were taken to Chinook Regional Hospital and later transferred to Calgary by STARS.

Police said a GMC truck was travelling east on 26 Avenue North, and while turning onto 28 Street struck the pedestrians as they crossed the street in the crosswalk. The driver immediately stopped and called 911.

The Crown and defence had previously discussed the possibility of resolving the case without a trial, but during a court hearing last October, Lethbridge lawyer Justin Dean said a trial would proceed but take less than a day.

“It’s a significant charge; however, we’ve been discussing an abbreviated trial that would bring this down to an agreed statement of facts (ASF), and it could probably be concluded in a matter of three hours,” Dean said.

The trial may now only take two hours, Crown Prosecutor Michael Fox said Wednesday in Lethbridge court of justice. He noted, however, he and the accused’s lawyer still need more time to complete the ASF.

“I have provided him with an agreed statement of facts, he provided me with evidence that he wanted admitted, and while I’m not totally in agreement with what he has asked, what he has asked is not totally unreasonable,” Fox told the judge. “I just need some time to finalize it.”

Fox said the trial will comprise the ASF, a video and then arguments by the Crown and defence.

“The total trial is going to be less than two hours, I expect,” he said, adding he doesn’t expect the judge to deliver a decision the same day.

The matter is scheduled to return to court on June 26 to determine the next step.

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