Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Court to weigh accused's responsibility in crash that killed worker

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WITNESSES who were at the scene of a crash that killed a construction flag person testified Tuesday how they saw the driver of the vehicle in a hysterical state.

Mitchell Blostein was walking in circles, hands to his head, wailing hysterically, said Ken Welchinski. The body of Brittany Lynn Murray was nearby, lying face down in the road.

Blostein, now 70, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge of dangerous driving causing death for the Oct. 18, 2010, collision that killed Murray, 21, who had been stationed beside Highway 207 at a construction site.

There is no dispute 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.

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

Savage said he will show that Blostein was doing about 112 km/h as he approached Murray. However, Welchinski, a driver who was following Blostein, said Blostein was doing about 80 km/h on Highway 207 but that he 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 Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation at the Highway 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 was sitting in the driver's seat.

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

Doerksen and paramedic Ryan Fortescue said Murray was wearing ear buds when her body was found on the side of the road and an iPod was found near her body.

The trial continues today.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 19, 2013 A6

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