REGINA – The trial for a Regina man accused of striking and killing a flag person on a Saskatchewan highway in August 2012 is scheduled to begin today in Weyburn.
On August 24, 2012, 47-year-old Keith Dunford allegedly struck and killed 18-year-old Ashley Dawn Richards with his car near Midale, Saskatchewan.
Richards had just started a new job as a flag person after moving from Lakeside, New Brunswick.
The trial at Weyburn’s Court of Queen’s Bench was supposed to get underway in June, but was delayed as a lawyer attended to a personal matter.
Keith Dunford pleaded not guilty to both charges he faces, criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.
On Thursday, the crown has presented four of its five witnesses. The first was a semi-truck driver who said the accused passed her in the construction zone just prior to the crash.
Next up was Betty Barabash, who trained Richards earlier in the day on how to work as a flag person.
Barabash described Richards as “a bright young lady,” who “was doing just fine” when it came to understanding the job.
The third witness was Constable Nick Melanson from the Filmore RCMP detachment. He was the first RCMP officer on scene that day, and he described seeing Richards’ safety vest, hard hat and steel toed boot strewn across the highway, as well as clumps of blonde hair and blood smears.
Finally, an accident reconstruction expert took the stand and said there were no signs of braking prior to the collision.
Dunford sat through the witness testimony quietly, without showing emotion.
The company Richards worked for, HJR Asphalt Partners, said her death shocked staff, who had to be pulled from the site and work elsewhere.
“When this happened, it hit everybody very, very hard,” said Andrea Bachman, the company’s human resources representative. “This is real and people can get killed on construction sites.”
“They’re out there risking their lives and if the travelling public isn’t going to slow down, it’s a tragedy. It’s happened again and again,” said one of HJR’s owners, Reg Willick.
The trial is expected to last two days.