Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Driver doesn't believe he was speeding when he hit flag worker

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The man driving the car that struck and killed a flag woman at a highway construction site in 2010 said he didn’t "believe" he was speeding that day.

Mitchell Blostein, 70, said he could tell by the "feel" of his car that he was doing the posted speed limit of 90 kph when he entered the construction zone on Hwy 207.

Blostein has pleaded not guilty to a charge of dangerous driving causing death for the Oct. 18, 2010 collision that killed Brittany Lynn Murray, 21.

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

Justice Douglas Abra must decide if the evidence supports the charge that Blostein was driving dangerously.

In the third day of the trial, Blostein said he slowed only slightly when he entered the construction zone, despite posted signs that said speed must be reduced to 60 kph when passing workers, because he didn’t see any workers.

Blostein said the first worker he saw at the site was when Murray suddenly appeared in front of him.

Blostein said he braked but he struck her just the same.

Under cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Craig Savage, Blostein said he couldn’t understand why an RCMP collision re-construction expert stated Blostein was doing 112 kph at the time of the accident. Blostein admitted he hadn’t checked his speedometer.

The report of the RCMP collision reconstruction expert was accepted as evidence by Blostein’s defence team. Blostein’s defence did not produce an expert of their own to counter the RCMP report.

The RCMP collision reconstruction report, presented at Blostein’s preliminary trial a year ago, stated that, based on the skid marks, Blostein’s car was travelling a minimum of 112 kph when he applied his brakes; and he was travelling at 89 kph when his car struck Murray.

Blostein was the only witness for the defence, which rested its case after he testified.

Closing arguments from defence and prosecution will begin at 2 p.m.

Earlier this morning, 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.

Blostein said as he was driving through the construction zone, Murray appeared out of nowhere and he couldn’t avoid hitting her.

He applied his brakes and his car skidded for 27 metres until he hit her, and for a total of 75 metres.

Blostein said he parked his car and got to check on Murray. "She was face down on the shoulder of the road," he said. "There was no movement or sound."

Blostein said he agreed with other witnesses who said he became hysterical and wailed at the site of Murray.

Blostein said he told police: "I had no idea where she came from and if she died I didn’t want to live."

Blostein said he later sought counseling to as he struggled with his emotions knowing he had killed someone.

Blostein said there was a parked car in the construction zone and he speculated it might have blocked his view of Murray.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Archive video: Hwy. 207: An eyewitness to the crash speaks - October 2010

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