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B.C. Supreme Court ruling reveals new clues in fatal Terrace hit-and-run investigation

Click to play video: 'B.C. Supreme Court ruling reveals new details in fatal Terrace hit and run probe'
B.C. Supreme Court ruling reveals new details in fatal Terrace hit and run probe
The RCMP recently won a court fight to further detain a key piece of evidence in a fatal 2018 hit and run near Terrace. Kristen Robinson has more on the BC Supreme Court judgment - and the new clues it reveals about the suspects and the ongoing investigation – Apr 16, 2023

The RCMP recently won a B.C. Supreme Court application to further detain a key piece of evidence in the investigation into a fatal hit and run in northwestern B.C. – and the judgment reveals new clues about the suspects – and the nearly five-year-old case.

Thirty-year-old Cameron Kerr was walking home along the shoulder of Highway 16 in the early morning hours of Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, when he was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver four kilometres west of Terrace.

“To leave Cameron there suffering, that’s hard to understand,” his brother Garrett Kerr told Global News in an interview Sunday.

“How somebody could live with themselves after that, and how those around them could live with them continuing on as if nothing happened.”

Click to play video: 'Family pleas for information following Terrace hit-and-run'
Family pleas for information following Terrace hit-and-run

On Nov. 20, 2018, RCMP seized the suspected hit-and-run vehicle, a Ford F-350 with a broken passenger side mirror, on Haida Gwaii and identified a Lower Mainland driver as a suspect.

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The F-350 was returned to the registered owner and person of interest on Dec. 12, 2018, while two computers found in it were also returned in March 2019.

Last month, RCMP successfully fought to detain a portion of the right mirror assembly from the same Ford F-350 for another year, or until March 22, 2024.

RCMP initially obtained a search warrant on Nov. 26, 2018, and executed it on the F-350 to seize the remains of the mirror housing. The exhibit was first ordered detained by a Judicial Justice on Feb. 12, 2019, before a second detention order was obtained on March 22, 2021 – valid for two years.

“The mirror is believed to have been directly involved in the collision and was the part of the vehicle that struck and killed the victim,” stated B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Punnett in his March 23 Reasons for Judgment.

“The police are working towards charges but are awaiting the analysis of a recently discovered biological sample of blood from the mirror collision debris believed to be from the F-350.”

Debris at the scene, according to the judgment, included a piece of a heating element used in the side mirrors of 2011–2016 Ford F-350 pickup trucks, and a “large number of small pieces of plastic believed at the time to be consistent with the plastic used in such side mirrors.”

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Punnett stated the respondent or person of interest opposed the further detention of what RCMP considers “critical evidence” submitting “there is a paucity of material regarding what steps have been taken over the past two years since the last detention order. For example, the recent discovery of organic material (blood) on the plastic pieces is not explained.”

The respondent noted it has now been four years since the incident and there are still no charges laid.

Click to play video: 'Family and friends of Terrace hit and run victim speak out'
Family and friends of Terrace hit and run victim speak out

Lawyer Ravi Hira K.C. told Global News that court applications like this are common in cases where charges are not laid immediately.

“They (RCMP) went before the Supreme Court judge and satisfied him that the investigation was complex and a further detention was required,” said Hira K.C., a partner at Hira Rowan LLP.

According to Punnett’s reasons, it is estimated another 24 months is required to complete the investigation, report to Crown Counsel and obtain charge approval.

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The B.C. Supreme Court ruling also reveals the person of interest was part of a group of seven hunters travelling together in the F-350 and another vehicle.

Video evidence obtained during the investigation shows a light-coloured flatbed Ford F-350 towing a boat westbound through Terrace towards Prince Rupert “between 2:50 and 3:00 a.m. on November 18, 2018 with an intact passenger side mirror. CCTV evidence in Prince Rupert at approximately 8:23 a.m. that same day showed the F-350 with the side mirror broken off.”

Police, according to the judgment, also seized and later returned seven cell phones from all seven of the hunters – the data from which is subject to a separate, ongoing application before the Provincial Court.

“They’re going on, living their lives as if this never happened, and really those are the opportunities they took away from my brother,” said Kerr.

“To continue to not cooperate, to never actually come back and atone for that initial mistake is the really difficult thing to understand for me.”

Kerr’s brother and his family are still hoping the suspect, the six others who were travelling with him in the early morning hours of Nov. 18, 2018, and/or those close to the group – will come forward with information that could assist the RCMP investigation.

“With no closure, with no justice for my brother – just imagine what that would be like for you.”

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