Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Not guilty plea entered by man accused of fatal accident while drunk driving and texting

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A Court of Queen’s Bench trial is now underway for a young Winnipeg man accused of texting while driving drunk and triggering a horrific fatal crash on Dugald Road.

Vann Ray Hansell, 22, pleaded not guilty to several charges, including that he committed criminal negligence causing the death of Mark Derry, 53, hours after a Sept. 6, 2011, evening crash on Dugald and Goodyear Avenue.

Hansell is accused of being under the influence of alcohol and distracted by texting on his cellphone, failing to see a City of Winnipeg water crew working in the area before it was too late.

The Crown alleges he crossed over into opposing traffic after swerving to miss cars stopped to allow the city crew to do their work.

Derry’s Dodge Neon was struck head-on.

Emergency crews had to cut off the roof and a door of Derry’s car to pull him out of the wreck, court heard. He was rushed to hospital in critical condition, but died of his injuries.

Hansell was also taken to hospital. His truck had tipped over on its side from the force of the crash.

Prosecutor Mark Kantor told court evidence from civilian witnesses and paramedics is expected to shed light on Hansell’s alleged cellphone use at the time of the crash.

Police obtained a production order for his cellphone records, court heard.

In hospital, police tested Hansell with an alcohol screening device, and he blew a warning, said Kantor. They then got a warrant to seize his blood and send it for testing. An RCMP toxicologist will explain what findings came from that test, Kantor said.

Hansell plans to challenge the continuity of custody of the blood sample seized by police, defence lawyer Sheldon Pinx said. The warrant police obtained to seize the blood will not be contested, he told Justice Colleen Suche.

The trial is set to last more than a week.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Monday, May 12, 2014 at 1:48 PM CDT: changes headline

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