Edmonton

Edmonton court hears new details about patio crash that killed toddler

The SUV plowed into the patio table and knocked Sage Morin out of her chair. She looked first at her son, who had been crushed against the wall, then turned and went after the driver, who stood 15 feet away. “You killed my baby,” she shouted. “You killed my son.”

'You killed my baby, you killed my son,' mother shouted at driver

Richard Suter, along wife Gayska Suter, outside court in July, after he pleaded guilty to refusing to offer a breath sample in the death of a toddler. (CBC)

The SUV plowed into the patio table and knocked Sage Morin out of her chair.

She looked first at her son, who had been crushed against the wall, then turned and went after the driver, who stood 15 feet away.

"You killed my baby," she shouted. "You killed my son."

Those details come from a 43-page agreed statement of facts, entered into evidence today at the sentencing hearing for Richard Suter, the man who drove his luxury SUV through a glass barrier into the outdoor patio of an Edmonton restaurant, killing two-year-old Geo Mounsef.

Suter has pleaded guilty to a single charge of failing to provide a breath sample.

Witnesses testified that on the evening of May 19, 2013, Suter seemed to be trying to pull his Acura into a handicapped parking stall outside Ric's Grill on 23rd Avenue.

He stopped briefly, then hit the gas. The SUV sped through the parking spot, went over the curb and smashed through the glass barrier. It hit and dragged the toddler across the patio and pinned him against the wall.

Moments later, the SUV backed up. The little boy lay on the concrete in a pool of blood.

Sage Morin testified that she went after Suter, slapped his face several times and pushed him to the ground. She said Suter appeared to be "heavily" intoxicated.

"When I got up close to him, he couldn't even stand up right," she said, "and yeah, he was wobbling all over."

Other witnesses also testified that Suter appeared to be drunk. They smelled alcohol on his breath.

Witnesses also said someone pulled Suter from the SUV.

Suter ended up in the parking lot, curled up on the pavement in a fetal position.

One man at the scene told police he saw the little boy's father, George Mounsef, kick Suter several times in the chest. That same witness later recanted his allegation when he testified at the preliminary inquiry.

When police arrived, Suter was still on the ground. Two constables helped him up. They said he seemed unable to stand on his own.

One constable testified she also thought Suter was drunk. She said he was unsteady on his feet, smelled of alcohol and slurred his words.

The constable handcuffed Suter and put him in the back of a police cruiser. He tipped over and lay on his side. She got him upright, read him his rights and asked if he wanted a lawyer. He said no. She then asked that he provide a breath sample.

"I think I should talk to my lawyer," he said.

When he was interviewed by police, Suter told one officer he'd had one pint of beer and two vodka and orange juice that afternoon, before driving to Ric's Grill.

Suter was originally charged with impaired driving causing death, three counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm and refusing to give a breath sample. The impaired driving charges are expected to be withdrawn this week.

The hearing continues this afternoon.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said one man at the scene testified he saw the little boy's father, George Mounsef, kick Suter in the chest. It should have said the man told police he saw that happen. That same witness later recanted his allegation when he testified at the preliminary inquiry.
    Oct 21, 2015 2:33 PM MT

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now