Collision analyst testifies in Arens case

  • May. 14, 2014 2:53 p.m.

An RCMP collision analyst testified in court that the collision between a Honda Civic and a Dodge Ram truck on July 1, 2010 wouldn’t have happened had the truck been going the speed limit.

RCMP Cpl. Donovan Gulak, who is an expert in collision analysis and reconstruction, said the speed of the truck that was traveling north on Taylor Dr. was going 79 kms/hr before it hit the car that was turning left from Taylor Dr. onto Kerry Wood Dr.

Rodney Arens, 36, of Red Deer, is charged with impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm, dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and breach of recognizance. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

Arens has also been charged with three charges of refusing to provide a breathalyzer sample. In court on Friday, the crown issued a stay of proceedings in regards to those three charges.

In 2010, police said Anouluck ‘Jeffrey’ Chanminaraj, 13, was riding in a Honda Civic with his then 18-year-old brother Jamie and 20-year-old sister Stephanie, who was driving, at about 11 p.m. on Canada Day when a Dodge Ram pick-up truck crashed into the passenger side of the car.

Their car was turning left through the intersection of Taylor Dr. and Kerry Wood Dr. when it was allegedly struck by the pick-up truck. The siblings were on their way to see the Canada Day fireworks.

Jeffrey was pronounced dead at the scene.

RCMP Cpl. Gord Baker did the initial collision analysis after the fact, but was unable to testify. Instead, Gulak, who signed off on Baker’s report in 2010, testified in court last Friday.

“I called him (Baker) to attend the collision (on July 1, 2010),” said Gulak. “When we respond to the scene the first thing we do is a walk through and we mark all the evidence – in this case he painted the evidence.”

He testified that as per protocol when attending a scene, the collision analyst will also examine the vehicles involved as well look at the marks left on the road from the vehicles involved.

Gulak added a collision analyst will also look at gauges, scrubs, scruffs and scrapes on the pavement, which allows them to place a vehicle at impact.

“There were no skid marks at this scene which indicates there was no pre-collision braking from either vehicle,” said Gulak. “There was full frontal damage on the truck and the point of impact on the car was on the passenger side at the ‘b’ pillar where the front passenger seatbelt is.”

Baker also attended the scene of the collision the following day as well as at the impound where the vehicles were taken.

In addition, Gulak said as a collision analyst they are able to tell what speed a vehicle was traveling before the collision. There is a formula to calculate the speed, but the number in the final report is typically lower than the actual speed of a vehicle within a few kilometres an hour.

“It gives the benefit to the offending vehicle,” he said.

Gulak testified that according to the report, the truck was traveling 79 kms/hr and moving at 29.4m per second. He told the court that if the truck was traveling at 60 kms/hr – the posted speed on that stretch of roadway – it would have been moving at 16.66m per second and the collision between the truck and car would not have occurred.

“The car would have had time to clear the intersection.”

The trial continues in Red Deer this week with proceedings entering a voir dire.