Jury deliberations were expected to begin Thursday afternoon at the inquest into the death of Jordan Lafond, who succumbed to blunt-force trauma injuries following a car chase with Saskatoon police officers.
Shortly after 4 a.m. on Oct. 23, 2016, Lafond was the passenger in a stolen Ford F-150 truck involved in a police pursuit before it crashed near Bethlehem Catholic High School along 22nd Street West.
There were three guns in the vehicle.
The five-woman one-man jury were tasked with determining Lafond’s cause of death, which has remained unclear over the course of four days of testimony.
Injuries including a contusion around Lafond’s left eye could have been caused by a truck crash or from repeated blows delivered by police, according to Shaun Ladham, Saskatchewan’s chief forensic pathologist who conducted Lafond’s autopsy.
“The significant trauma was in the head region,” Ladham said Thursday.
Sgt. Thomas Gresty previously testified to delivering “three or four” knee strikes to the top of Lafond’s head, saying “stop resisting” with each blow.
According to Ladham, there were no visible injuries to the top of the deceased’s head, though the absence of visible indicators doesn’t mean the strikes never happened.
The officer said since the incident, he has realized Lafond wasn’t moving following the crash.
Gresty said he mistook Sgt. Kelly Olafson’s struggles handcuffing the suspect as Lafond moving.
Olafson said he stomped on Lafond’s hand, before dragging him out from underneath the truck following the collision.
He said it was “physically impossible” to kick Lafond, as was theorized by some Saskatoon police officers conducting an internal probe because Lafond was beneath the truck.
On Thursday, collision analyst Const. Barry Low provided a step-by-step account of how he believed the crash occurred.
The truck struck a pole on a pedestrian pathway, causing the airbags to deploy and the driver, Reece Fiddler, to lose control of the vehicle and crash into a chain-link fence, Low said.
Lafond fell out the passenger side door, which was open at the time, Low continued, stating the truck went up a ditch along 22nd Street and came back down.
The jury is tasked with determining Lafond’s cause of death and the means through which he died: natural, accident, suicide, homicide or undetermined.
Jurors aren’t tasked with finding fault.
At the conclusion of deliberations, the jury can make recommendations to prevent similar deaths from occurring in the future.