Calgary

Defence prepares strategy in trucker's manslaughter trial

The lawyer for Daniel Tschetter is deciding his next move after the Crown wrapped up its case against the cement truck driver charged with killing five people in a collision.

The lawyer for Daniel Tschetter is deciding his next move after the Crown wrapped up its case against the cement truck driver charged with killing five people in a collision.

Tschetter, 51, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of manslaughter, five counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of obstruction in the deadly crash in December 2007.

Defence lawyer Balfour Der was granted an adjournment on Friday so he can speak to his client about whether he will take the stand.

"There's a number of things that go into this decision-making process," Der said. "One is whether we think there are things that need explaining and whether we can give an explanation for them.

"There are things such as whether we think the elements of the charge have been proven at this point in time … so those are the things Mr. Tschetter and I will discuss this weekend and make a decision on."

The Crown closed its case after calling 28 witnesses in the first five days of the provincial court trial.

On Thursday, a police reconstruction expert testified that the cement truck was going 105 km/h when it slammed into the back of a car that was stopped at a red light at Macleod Trail and 194th Avenue.

Cst. Robert Gauvin also testified Thursday that Tschetter did not brake until the truck made impact with the vehicle.

Vodka bottle was almost empty

Another officer told the court that he found a vodka bottle in the concrete mixer of the truck after a witness said he saw Tschetter throw something in the drum.

Const. Paul Millman testified that he pulled the 750-millimetre bottle out from under a thin layer of concrete, and that it was four-fifths empty.

The court has heard that Tschetter, who is from Cochrane, was angry on the day of the crash because the water lines on his cement truck were freezing. Co-workers said he was swearing and upset before he left the job site in Nanton.

Other drivers who were travelling north on Highway 2 toward Calgary at the same time as Tschetter testified that they saw the truck was speeding and passing dangerously on the shoulder.

Chris Gautreau, 41, his daughters, Alexia, 9, and Kiarra, 6, Gautreau's fiancée, Melaina Hovdebo, 33, and her son, Zachary, 16 months, were killed in the crash.

The case is scheduled to wrap up on Tuesday.

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