The jury has begun deliberations in the trial of a man accused of dangerous driving and fleeing the scene after he hit a group of Ottawa cyclists in 2009.

Sommit Luangpakham, 47, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and leaving the scene of an accident.

Five cyclists were riding single file in the bike lane on March Road in the west Ottawa neighbourhood of Kanata in July 2009 when they were struck by a van that had moved into the bike lane. All five were hurt and four were seriously injured. 


This is a view of Luangpakham's vehicle after the collision. The judge released the photo after the jury was sequestered. (CBC)

Luangpakham testified he fell asleep and only woke up when the wind hit his face after his windshield was smashed in.

He said he thought he hit a post and did not stop at the scene because he had not realized he hit people.

Judge gives her charge to the jury

In her remarks to the jury, Justice Monique Métivier said jury members must consider "the manner of driving and not the consequences of the driving" and told the jury they must decide if what happened was a momentary lapse of attention.

She said the jury must ask itself if the accused operated his vehicle in a dangerous manner, if his driving was a marked departure from what a reasonable person would do and whether he should have known, or ought to have known, people were injured.

She also told the jury they must decide whether his intent on leaving the scene was to avoid criminal or civil liability.

The judge also instructed the jury to disregard testimony from a police officer who suggested the smell of stale alcohol he detected on Luangpakham was consistent with someone who had a drink within the previous six hours. Métivier said the officer was neither qualified or entitled to offer that opinion.

Jury members are now sequestered to decide a verdict.