Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Court told driver hysterical after vehicle fatally hit highway worker

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Witnesses who arrived at the scene of a collision that killed a woman working with a highway crew just east of Winnipeg in October 2010 say they saw the driver — Mitchell Blostein — in a hysterical state.

This morning, witness Ken Welchinski said Blostein, the driver of the vehicle that hit the 21-year-old woman, was walking in circles, hands to his head, wailing hysterically.

Brittany Lynn Murray's body was nearby, lying face down in the road.

Blostein, now 70, pleaded not guilty this morning to a charge of dangerous driving causing death for the Oct. 18, 2010 collision that killed Murray, who was working as a flag person on a highway construction site.

There is no dispute that Blostein was driving the car that struck and killed Murray. Justice Douglas Abra must decide if the evidence supports the charge Blostein was driving dangerously.

The trial ended for the day just before noon and resumes Wednesday morning.

Crown prosecutor Craig Savage opened the trial, stating a "combination of speed and lack of attention," led to Murray's death.

Savage said he will show that Blostein was doing about 112 kph as the man approached the highway crew.

However, Welchinski, who was following Blostein, said Blostein had been doing 80 kph on Hwy. 207 but did not appear to slow down as he approached the construction site.

Welchinski, who was about 100 metres behind Blostein, said he saw debris fly into the air and what he initially believed was a carpet roll fly off the top of Blostein's car.

Ryan Doerksen was working as an inspector with the Department of Infrastructure and Transportation at the Hwy 207 project site the day of the collision. Doerksen said he was about 200 metres from the collision site when he noticed a car pulled over to the side of the road and could hear a faint, strange noise coming from that area. When he got to the scene, he could see the car's windshield had a hole in it, and Blostein sitting in the driver's seat.

Doerksen said the strange noise he heard was Blostein screaming hysterically.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Archive video: Hwy 207: An eyewitness to the aftermath speaks - October 20, 2010

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History

Updated on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 10:49 AM CDT: Mitchell Blostein is charged with dangerous driving causing death.

12:43 PM: Updated story after trial finishes for the day.

8:49 PM: Fixed spelling of name.

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