Trial ends for senior charged in highway worker’s death

The fate of a senior charged with killing a highway road worker with his car is now in the hands of a Manitoba judge.

Judge reserves decision in case where flag worker was struck, killed by motorist

Brittany Murray was killed on Oct. 18, 2010 at a roadside construction site. (Family photo)

The fate of a senior charged with killing a highway road worker with his car is now in the hands of a Manitoba judge.

Mitchell Blostein was charged with dangerous driving causing death after 21-year-old Brittany Murray was struck and killed while working as a flag person northeast of Winnipeg.

The incident happened in October 2010, and Blostein was later charged in February 2011.

Blostein pleaded not guilty to the charges, and on Thursday, lawyers presented their closing arguments in the case.

The court heard Blostein was driving down Highway 207 the day Murray was killed. He said he saw signs asking drivers to slow down to 60 kilometres per hour when passing workers.

Blostein testified he did slow his car down slightly but did not see any workers until just before hitting Murray.

"I have no idea where she came from," he told the court.

Blostein’s attorneys argued Murray could have been distracted and should have been standing closer to the shoulder, not in the middle of the lane.

Defence attorney Hymie Weinstein also agued Blostein followed directions on the sign he saw but wasn’t obligated to slow down until he was passing workers, according to the sign.

Crown attorney Craig Savage argued Blostein was driving too fast and not paying close enough attention.

Savage said expert evidence showed Blostein was going 112 km/h when he hit the breaks and skidded. Savage said the expert determined Murray was hit at a speed of 89 km/h.

He challenged Blostein, asking him if he would expect to see highway workers at the time of day he hit Murray.

"I would expect [to], but I didn’t see any," he testified. He said he was shocked when Murray appeared, and he pulled over immediately after hitting her. He said he saw her body laying face down on the highway.

"There was no movement or sound, and I immediately became hysterical," he testified.

Murray was rushed to hospital but died after arriving.

Weinstein said while what happened was tragic, it does not mean it was criminal.

Neil Murray is Brittany's father. Neil said he believes Blostein was driving too fast, and he wants to see him take responsibility for what happened.

"The accused not taking ownership for this act is the part that really rips all of our hearts more than anything," he said. "We know he didn’t do that on purpose. He’s probably an exemplary citizen. He made a huge mistake that impacted all our lives, including his own obviously."

The judge presiding over the case reserved his decision.