Kanata driver who hit cyclists says he fell asleep
The driver of a van that collided with five cyclists in Kanata, Ont., in 2009 told an Ottawa court he must have fallen asleep at the wheel and thought he hit a post.
Sommit Luangpakham, 47, took the stand for the first time Monday speaking in broken English as his lawyer Richard Addelman and the Crown asked him to recall the morning of July 19, 2009.
The man said he had been at a party the night before and stayed up all night, the CBC's Laurie Fagan heard at the courthouse, but said he did not drink any alcohol.
Luangpakam said he saw sunlight and decided to drive home just after 7 a.m. the next morning.
He told the court when the collision occurred he "heard noises" and felt the "wind hit his face" and realized his windshield was blown out.
He continued to drive home in shock, he said, and repeatedly told the court he was "freaked out." Later he heard a radio report about the crash and his wife drove him to the police station.
Defence calling witnesses
The defence called witnesses for the first time as it fights the charges against Luangpakham, which include multiple counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and failing to remain at the scene of an accident.
He has pleaded not guilty.
The court also heard from a friend of Luangpakham's who was at the party and testified he did not see Luangpakham drink any alcohol.
Closing arguments are expected to be made Tuesday in court.
The Crown wrapped up its case Thursday with Ottawa police collision reconstructionist Sgt. Walter McIlquham, who testified the trail of evidence at the crash scene suggested the van entered the bike lane where the riders were riding single file on March Road.
He added the van appeared to clip the trailing cyclist, knock the next two cyclists over and then strike the front two riders, dragging the bicycles under the front bumper for about 36 metres before running them over.
Police officers have also testified they smelled alcohol on Luangpakham when he turned himself in after the collision at a Kanata OPP station. But Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Daril Holmes said he could not administer a breathalyzer test because it was more than three hours after the collision and Luangpakham did not have slurred speech or seem impaired.
On the trial's first day last Tuesday, witnesses Jody and Dale Pegg told the court the beige van did not stop or slow down after the collision with the cyclists.