REGINA – A judge in Weyburn has found Keith Dunford guilty of Dangerous Driving Causing Death after an 18-year-old construction worker was killed on the job over three years ago.
Dunford, 47, was also found not guilty on a separate charge of Criminal Negligence Causing Death.
Ashley Dawn Richards was working on a construction site as a flag person when she was struck by Dunford’s SUV and thrown nearly 60 meters near Midale in August of 2012.
“It shows the great vigilance that is required of all of us in the orange zone,” Crown prosecutor Mitchell Smith told reporters after the verdict.
Dunford paid close attention to the ruling in court but showed little emotion.
“No matter what the outcome of this case was, guilty or not guilty, (Dunford) knew that he was going to have to live with this for the rest of his life, so in some ways things haven’t changed all that much,” said defense lawyer, Aaron Fox.
Dunford plead not guilty to both charges in August, claiming he was distracted momentarily when looking at his recent immigration papers. He is a trucker from the UK.
However, Justice Lana Krogan said he travelled the highway earlier that day, and though he passed through 13 kilometres of construction signage, failed to slow down or show any signs of braking.
Dunford was also speeding around 90 km/h in a 60 km/h zone and passed two semis.
On the second, more serious charge of Criminal Negligence Causing Death, the Crown needed to prove Dunford showed wanton and reckless disregard for his actions, which the judge said they failed to do beyond a reasonable doubt.
Reg Willick, the owner of JHR Asphalt and Richards’ former employer was in court for the ruling
“As far as a reaction, it’s really tough to say right now if we’re even satisfied or just relieved it’s over,” he told the media. “I think for myself and for some of my team it was the right place, it was the only place for us to be today.”
Dunford will face sentencing on October 30th.