A warned statement by the accused took centre stage on Tuesday as the trial concerning a fatal hit-and-run in 2010 entered its second day.
The court watched video footage of the statement offered by the accused on Sept. 24, 2010, five days after the incident outside Stavros Lounge that claimed the life of 21-year-old Prince Albert resident Daniel Carter.
In the video, a police officer starts off asking basic questions to the accused. He noted that she appeared to come from a good, supportive family. They discussed her interest in working with youth and desire to study kinesiology, but also a minor incident that involved contact with police.
For more than an hour, the officer attempted to coax the accused into telling her side of the story. After he said that sufficient evidence existed to file two charges against her, she began detailing the events leading up to the incident.
The accused described a fairly mundane Saturday -- waking up, showering, texting friends and hearing there was a party. Early in the evening of Sept. 18, she drove out to the party, where whiskey and root beer were being served.
At this point, the officer stopped her and pointed to the possibility of an impaired driving charge being laid. The accused phoned a lawyer for consultation before the discussion resumed.
Reluctant to divulge additional details, the accused asked about possible sentence lengths if found guilty. The officer insisted his main priority was seeking the truth.
Finally, the accused began to discuss the main incident.
“I swear to God I didn’t see him,” she said of Carter. “He jumped out.” Indicating that she would have given her own life for that of the deceased, the accused began to weep.
Moving back to the events leading up to the incident, she said she had a few drinks with friends at Stavros Lounge. Upon leaving, she backed up her car, bumped into another vehicle and panicked.
Driving out of the parking lot, she heard a sound from her car that she approximated for the officer by banging on a table.
Explaining why she did not stop her vehicle, the accused said that while she did not believe that she had hurt anyone -- “I didn’t think I hurt him … I thought I only bumped him with my car or something” -- she was scared of the consequences if she had.
Aside from the warned statement video, the court on Tuesday viewed surveillance footage from a nearby parking lot and heard testimony from two witnesses.
The surveillance video depicted a crowd, mostly smokers, gathered in the parking lot, illustrating relatively high pedestrian foot traffic. In the last part of the video, emergency lights can be seen at the top of the screen.
One of the two witnesses, 22-year-old Jalissa Couture, was a friend of the accused who initially invited her to Stavros Lounge that evening. Couture said that she received a text from the accused roughly 20 minutes after she arrived home in the early hours of Sept. 19, but described no content of note.
I swear to God I didn’t see him. Danielle Chamakese
Couture first became aware of the fatal incident when a friend from the bar phoned her to ask if her boyfriend was alright, since he fit a description of someone from the accident scene.
As a manager at the Gateway Mall Foot Locker, Couture set up a job interview for the accused later in the week, but the latter failed to attend.
The next time she talked to the accused was on the Saturday following the incident. The accused said she had just been released from jail and mentioned hitting something. She appeared sad and remorseful, according to Couture.
Describing the state of her friend near the time of the incident, Couture said, “She might have been a little tipsy. She didn’t seem too intoxicated to function or anything.”
Tuesday’s remaining witness, lifelong Prince Albert resident Cindyloo McCallum, described hearing a loud thud while crossing the road from Stavros towards Belly Up next door.
Turning around, she saw a person lying roughly 20 feet away. She took note of a small silver car before it reached the corner.
“I saw the car leaving,” McCallum said. “It didn’t stop at the stop sign.”
McCallum and her husband rushed to the young man lying in the street, where a crowd had gathered. Though the man was “hurt and bloody,” onlookers told each other not to move him and immediately called 911.
Cross-examining both Couture and McCallum, defense attorney Greg Chovin pointed to the fact that the events took place nearly three years ago and noted the speed at which they occurred, casting doubt on the veracity of their testimony.
He noted that a large truck partially obscured McCallum’s view. Chovin also highlighted McCallum’s description of the dark clothing worn by Carter -- black jacket, white T-shirt and jeans.
Following the day’s proceedings, the Crown has now closed its case against the accused save for a final statement. The trial is set to resume at the Court of Queen’s Bench on Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Pelican Lake resident Danielle Chamakese, 22, has pled not guilty to charges of criminal negligence causing death, dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death and failure to remain at the scene of an accident.