Hockey

Rob Ramage sorry for tragedy: police

Former NHL player Rob Ramage admitted his drinking caused a horrific car crash and was "sorry" for the tragedy, a police officer told jurors Thursday in Newmarket, Ont.

Former NHL player Rob Ramage admitted his drinking caused a horrific car crash and was "sorry" for the tragedy, a police officer told jurors Thursday in Newmarket, Ont.

But Const. Shannon Riesberry's testimony dramatically differed from what paramedics recalled hearing — or not hearing.

Under cross-examination, she admitted most of her notes were made from memory a day after the collision that killed former Chicago Blackhawk Keith Magnuson.

Ramage, 48, has pleaded not guilty to five criminal charges, including impaired and dangerous driving in causing the death of Magnuson, a 56-year-old married father of two.

Magnuson was a passenger in a rented car driven by Ramage when it crossed the centre line in Woodbridge, Ont., on Dec. 15, 2003.

It slammed head-on into an SUV, injuring driver Michelle Pacheco, 39.

"Sorry, I'm so sorry," Ramage said, according to Riesberry, after she told him his passenger, who he believed was Gary Leeman, had died.

Upon entering Etobicoke General Hospital, Riesberry testified, Ramage said: "Oh no. This shouldn't be. This is the booze."

Portable urinal

When he asked to use a portable urinal in the ambulance, Riesberry claimed Ramage said: "I have to pee. I have to pee. It's all the drinking."

Paramedics riding in the ambulance testified earlier this week they never heard any similar words between Ramage and Riesberry.

They also never noticed his eyes were red or bloodshot, as Riesberry and other police officers alleged.

Even after she told Ramage his friend was dead, she said, he still asked: "How's Gary doing?"

For several hours, police, paramedics, hospital workers and Ramage thought Leeman had died.

"It was Maggy?" Const. Andrew Cole said Ramage replied when he was finally told about 10:30 p.m. that Magnuson had died.

No breath test given

Several officers have testified they could still smell alcohol on Ramage's breath 2½ hours after the crash.

No breath test was given because he was on morphine.

The officer who took urine samples admitted preservatives were never placed in the vials that were kept in his pants pocket for nearly nine hours.

Defence attorney Brian Greenspan has suggested Ramage's confusion about his passenger was consistent with a person briefly losing consciousness in a crash.

Ramage, Magnuson and Leeman were among several former NHL players who attended a funeral and reception earlier in the day at a golf club in Bolton, Ont.

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