Ottawa

'She came out of nowhere,' accused in cyclist's death told police

The dump truck driver accused of careless and dangerous driving in the death of 23-year-old cyclist Nusrat Jahan told police he triple-checked before turning across the bike lane on Laurier Avenue W.

Court hears recorded police interview with driver of dump truck that struck Nusrat Jahan

Nusrat Jahan, 23, was struck by a truck and killed while cycling on Laurier Avenue W. on Sept. 1, 2016. (courtesy of family)

The dump truck driver accused of careless and dangerous driving in the death of 23-year-old cyclist Nusrat Jahan told police he triple-checked before turning across the bike lane on Laurier Avenue W.

Steven Conley, 40, has pleaded not guilty to criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing the death of the Willis College student.

Jahan was cycling to school on the morning of Sept. 1, 2016, when the truck struck her at the intersection of Laurier and Lyon Street just before 8 a.m., pinning her under its rear wheels.

On Tuesday court heard a 14-minute interview with Conley recorded by Det. Bruno Gendron, an Ottawa police collision investigator.

Steven Conley told police he was driving the dump truck that struck Nasrat Jahan for the first time on the morning of the fatal collision. (Martin Weaver/CBC )

Driving different truck

In the recording, Conley told the detective he was driving that dump truck for the first time that morning because the vehicle he normally drove for his employer, Tomlinson, was undergoing repairs.

Conley said he was heading east along Laurier Ave. W. when he stopped for a red light before turning right onto Lyon Street.

I always look, but you can't always see.- Steven Conley, accused truck driver

Conley explained the mirrors on the hood of the vehicle help drivers see anything in their blind spots. He said his employer often cautioned drivers to check the mirrors carefully for pedestrians and bikes.

"When the light turned green, before I turned, I looked in the mirrors three times and then I looked again in my mirror on the hood and then I went ahead," Conley said.  He told Gendron he always waits a "few seconds" before turning.

"I always look, but you can't always see," Conley told the detective. He made his right turn onto Lyon Street.

"Then I heard a crunch," Conley said in the recording. 

He said he got out of the cab and looked underneath truck, and was shocked to see Jahan there.

'I didn't see her at all'

"I didn't see her at all. She came out of nowhere, and if I'd seen her I would have stopped," he said. "It's not something you want to see, someone under your truck." 

Conley, sitting in the front row of the courtroom, looked straight ahead as the recording played in the hushed courtroom.

"I feel sorry for the family. No one wants to get a call like that," Conley told the detective. 

Gendron testified on Tuesday that he twice read Conley his rights and advised him of his right to retain or speak to a lawyer right away.

Gendron said Conley acknowledged he understood his rights, but declined to call a lawyer. Gendron said Conley did ask him if he would go to jail if he was found guilty.

The trial resumes Wednesday.