More than a year after two joggers were struck in a South Surrey crosswalk, charges have been laid against the alleged driver.
According to court records, two counts of “fail to stop at accident scene involving bodily harm” were sworn on Dec. 6 against a Surrey man.
Barry Russell Christiansen, 54, is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Jan. 21, 2014.
On Dec. 3, 2012, just before 8 p.m., Nola Carlson and Shelley Lammers were jogging across 152 Street at 32 Avenue, when they were mowed down by a vehicle turning south. Lammers suffered a concussion, fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, two broken vertebrae and a lacerated liver. Carlson’s injuries included a broken nose and cheekbone.
Evidence from the scene included traffic-camera video that captured the impact and – about 25 seconds later – a figure on foot approach the women and lean over them before rapidly departing.
Three days later, police announced the arrest of a 53-year-old Surrey man and the seizure of a BMW X1.
Early last month, investigators forwarded their report recommending charges.
On Dec. 4, Neil MacKenzie – communications counsel for the Criminal Justice Branch – told Peace Arch News the charge assessment process was ongoing “and no decision has been made as to whether any charges will be approved.”
Advised by PAN of the charges Tuesday morning, Surrey RCMP Cpl. Bert Paquet said they are good news for the victims and their families.
He was surprised to learn they had been sworn 11 days earlier.
“This is more an exception than the norm. We’re usually kept updated on high-profile cases,” Paquet said.
Shortly after noon Tuesday, Paquet issued a news release noting the charges were laid after assistance from the public.
“It is extremely satisfying for our investigators, but especially for the victims and their families, to see that this next legal step has taken place,” Paquet said. “While the assistance of the public was the key in advancing this investigation, several officers have worked tirelessly to ensure that charges were successfully laid…”
Prior to last year’s arrest, members of Lammers’ family appealed for the driver responsible to “do the right thing.” While that didn’t prompt anyone to come forward, release of the traffic-camera footage triggered the memory of a passerby who remembered a licence-plate number.
Carlson at the time described the fact the driver had left the scene as “heinous.”
“I’m appalled and I’m frightened – what’s the world coming to when these kinds of accidents happen and drivers just leave the person lying there?” she said.
Reached by email Tuesday, Christiansen – a senior management consultant at Insights Vancouver – deferred PAN’s request for an interview to his lawyer.
Emmet Duncan said his client appreciated the opportunity to give his side publicly but “just at this time, it’s not appropriate.”
Duncan declined to speak to the charges.
“We haven’t had an opportunity to see what the case is against Mr. Christiansen at all, so we don’t have much to comment on,” he said. “We would need to see what the allegations are and what all the information is before making that decision.
“He may re-evaluate the situation after we’ve got a better sense of what the evidence in the case is.”