A snowplow continued driving after striking Toronto police Sgt. Ryan Russell, hitting other vehicles on the road and ignoring the presence of other officers trying to stop him, jurors at Richard Kachkar’s trial heard Thursday.
Jurors heard from the officers who pursued Kachkar after Russell was hit on the morning of Jan. 12, 2011, as well as from members of the Emergency Task Force who ultimately stopped the snowplow.
Russell was 35 years old when he was killed. The 11-year police veteran left behind a wife and young son.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Ian MacDonnell told jurors at the outset of the trial that there is "no dispute" that Kachkar was driving the snowplow the day Russell was killed.
What is in question is the accused's state of mind.
Kachkar, 46, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and dangerous driving. His trial is in its eighth day.
Officers describe driver's behaviour
On Thursday, jurors were shown video captured by the dashboard cameras of officers who pursued the snowplow after Russell was struck.
Const. Chris Cooper testified that Kachkar was driving in a "controlled" manner during the slow-speed chase.
At one during the pursuit, Cooper said it appeared that Kachkar was "yelling and screaming at us."
The officer believed that the man at the wheel of the snowplow was upset and may have been crying.
Const. Adam Penner, also among the officers who pursued Kachkar that morning, testified that Kachkar had also yelled at him, but he couldn’t hear what he was saying.
Jurors also heard testimony from civilians who ended up in the path of the snowplow that same morning.
Anthony Muhitch, a high-school teacher who was driving to work on Ossington Avenue, saw the snowplow hit another car. The impact sent that vehicle spinning into his own.
He testified that it happened so quickly, he didn’t even have time to put his car in reverse.
When the plow was gone, Muhitch was worried that it might return.
"Where could I go if this plow came back at me?" Muhitch said in court.
Kachkar hit with Taser, shot
About an hour after Russell was struck and fatally injured, members of the Emergency Task Force were bringing the snowplow to a halt.
Sgt. Scott Payne testified Thursday that police fired gas rounds at the plow to try and stop it.
After Kachkar had crashed into a garbage truck, Payne said he shot Kachkar with his Taser.
"I figured if I could lock his muscles up, I could deal with him without him driving off," Payne said in court.
But Kachkar didn't go easily.
He tried to drive off and pinned one officer between vehicles.
Officers shot Kachkar twice and pulling him from the snowplow.
As Kachkar was arrested, he made reference to his sister, Payne said.
"It's my sister's fault, my sister made me do this," Payne recalled Kachkar saying.
The trial continues next week with more testimony from Emergency Task Force officers who were present when Kachkar was arrested.