The trial of the man charged in connection with the 2011 collision on 16 Avenue that killed South Surrey resident Jim Neiss got underway in Surrey Provincial Court Monday.
During opening statements, prosecutor Damien Assonitis told the court that based on the testimony of several eye witnesses, as well as comments made to the RCMP by the defendant, the Crown would prove that Glen Edwards Theriault “was driving with a marked departure of care” on the morning in question.
“The evidence will show that the dump truck drove into the Ford Explorer and that Mr. Theriault was operating the vehicle in a way that was dangerous to the public,” Assonitis said.
Neiss, 59, died just after 5:30 a.m. Jan. 18, 2011 when his eastbound Ford Explorer was hit head-on in the 19800-block of 16 Avenue by a Sterling dump truck that had reportedly crossed a double-yellow line to pass a small white car.
The force of the impact compressed the front section of the Explorer into less than half its width.
Theriault – who was charged 10 months after the collision – pleaded not guilty to dangerous driving causing death during a brief court appearance in April 2012.
Neiss’ widow, Brenda Michie, who was joined in court Monday by several friends and family members, told Peace Arch News that the start of the trial has brought back the pain of losing her husband.
“You would think after 2½ years you would almost get to the point where you’re seeing some light and you’re getting your life back,” Michie said during a brief recess.
“After today, it doesn’t feel like that.”
Michie was visibly shaken during testimony from Crown witness Langley RCMP Const. Baxter Morgan, which included photos taken from the scene.
Crown is expected to call more witnesses – including drivers who were in the area in the minutes leading up to the collision – to testify in the coming days.
Neiss – a bus driver with the Langley School District since 2003 – had been on his way to work when the collision occurred.
The dump-truck driver, identified at the time of the crash as a 62-year-old Burnaby resident, was treated at the scene and released.
The trial is expected to conclude on Friday.