Witnesses describe fatal 2008 crash

The trial of a Nanaimo woman charged with dangerous and impaired driving following a 2008 car crash resumed Monday.

The trial of a Nanaimo woman charged with dangerous and impaired driving following a 2008 car crash resumed Monday with testimony from witnesses involved in the crash.

Clare Bekkers is charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing death, two counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm, two counts of impaired driving causing death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm following a car crash on the Island Highway Dec. 22, 2008.

The collision happened at about 4:20 p.m. in the southbound lane of the Island Highway near the Cassidy Inn. Bekkers, driving northbound on the highway in a Ford SUV, crossed the centre line into oncoming traffic, triggering a multi-car collision that killed her two sons and injured her two daughters.

The trial began in Supreme Court in Nanaimo Sept. 6 and was adjourned after four days until Nov. 14. The Crown’s case is expected to wrap up Wednesday, after which the defence has requested a short adjournment to allow for a response to expert testimony.

On Monday, five people involved in the crash testified.

Glen Budd, a passenger in his brother’s truck on the day of the accident, said he urged his brother, who was driving southbound, to avoid the crash ahead by going left – into the northbound lanes.

“It seemed like the traffic was stopping dead in front of us,” he said. “I thought there was no chance of us stopping.”

The truck smashed into another vehicle on the passenger side and was pushed into the northbound lanes.

Afterward, the brothers got out of the truck and began checking on the other cars involved in the collision.

When Budd approached the SUV with its back end in a snowbank, he saw a dead dog on the road that he thought had come through the rear passenger window, which was smashed.

He told his brother, who was standing by the rear passenger door screaming, to find someone with medical training, then looked in the back of the vehicle.

“The first child I could see was definitely in dire straights if not deceased,” said Budd.

He turned his attention at that point to the child in the middle, who appeared to be having trouble breathing. The child behind the driver was screaming, but looked uninjured.

“I remember people telling me not to move them,” said Budd.

He observed that the female driver looked to be unconscious at first, but soon woke up. He thinks someone was restraining her from running around to the side of the vehicle he was on.

Ken Wilson, heading southbound to Ladysmith, told the courtroom he saw the headlights on a vehicle heading northbound towards him “bucking” up and down.

He watched the car fishtail to one side and then the other, but expected it to stay in the northbound lanes. Wilson decided to change from the left lane to the right to warn the drivers behind him to watch out.

While changing lanes, he said the swerving car suddenly seemed to get traction and came across the northbound lanes and struck his vehicle, which was pushed to the shoulder of the road.

The trial resumes today with testimony from a toxicologist.