Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Judge reserves decision on man charged in crash that killed highway flag worker

  • Print

The man driving the car that struck and killed a flag woman at a highway construction site failed to take the cautionary steps that a reasonable person would have, his trial heard this afternoon.

Crown prosecutor Craig Savage told Justice Douglas Abra that Mitchell Blostein’s actions that day justify his being found guilty of dangerous driving causing death.

"This is a case of speed and inattentiveness," Savage said during his closing arguments. "If (Blostein) had been paying more attention to his speed and to his surroundings, he would have seen Miss Murray," before his car struck her.

Blostein, 70, pleaded not guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing death for the Oct. 18, 2010 collision that killed Brittany Lynn Murray.

Murray, 21, was employed as a flag woman for Mulder Construction, which that summer and fall was resurfacing a stretch of Hwy 207 between the Trans-Canada Highway and Hwy 15.

Justice Abra must decide if the evidence supports the charge that Blostein was driving dangerously. Abra reserved his decision, adding he hoped to bring back a verdict on the morning of June 28.

Speed of vehicle in question

Earlier, Blostein testified his family owns a hardware store in Lorette, and that he has travelled that stretch of Hwy 207 for 17 years, six times a week, twice a day, between the store and his home in Dugald.

Savage said that Blostein had testified he drove that stretch of highway daily while it was under construction, adding he should have known to expect a flag person and other workers along the site and was driving too fast for conditions.

Blostein said he believed he was driving the posted speed of 90 km/h when he entered the construction zone but did not reduce his speed to 60 km/h, as warned by signs, because he didn’t see any workers until he hit Murray.

Savage said the report of an RCMP collision re-construction analyst found that, based on the skid marks, Blostein had been travelling at a minimum of 112 km/h just before he applied his brakes and then was doing 89 km/h when he struck and killed Murray.

Defence co-counsel Lisa LaBossiere said Blostein did nothing that day that should turn him into a criminal.

LaBossiere said that while the expert’s report had him travelling at a higher speed, she said that Blostein testified he was doing the posted speed limit and that a driver who was following Blostein said he was doing 80 km/h.

LaBossiere said a sign stated the maximum speed through the area is 60 km/h when workers were present but added that the only worker Blostein saw was Murray, who he said appeared out of nowhere and he was unable to avoid her.

Defence raises workplace safety at site

LaBossiere said that evidence suggested that the flaggers at that site were regularly listening to music through ear buds, were inattentive to traffic and displayed other bad workplace habits.

Witnesses testified Tuesday that Murray was still wearing iPod ear buds in her ears after the collision and her iPod was found nearby.

LaBossiere said it is not unreasonable to believe that Murray had been distracted and darted unexpectedly onto the roadway when she realized a car was coming.

However, Justice Abra questioned the merits of such a scenario.

"Where does that get you," Abra asked LaBossiere. "Contributory negligence is not a defence to dangerous driving."

Abra also had questions for the prosecution’s case, saying there was little evidence to state where other workers were located in reference to the collision scene.

 

Aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

Comments are not accepted on this story because they might prejudice a case before the courts.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Jets Bogosian-Little-Ladd

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A nesting goose sits on the roof of GoodLife Fitness at 143 Nature Way near Kenaston as the morning sun comes up Wednesday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 07- Web crop-May 09, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • KEN GIGLIOTTI  WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / July 23 2009 - 090723 - Bart Kives story - Harry Lazarenko Annual River Bank Tour - receding water from summer rains and erosion  damage by flood  and ice  during spring flooding -  Red River , Lyndale Dr. damage to tree roots , river bank damage  , high water marks after 2009 Flood - POY

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should the Canadian Museum for Human Rights use the word 'genocide' in exhibits on Indian residential schools?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google