Court case ends before it begins

A trial for a Cherryville logging truck driver involved in a 2009 fatal accident on Highway 6 ended quickly.

Stay of proceedings were issued  on two counts against Vernon Dale Tilbert, 58, at what was to be the beginning of his Supreme Court trial Monday in Vernon.

Crown counsel issued the stays.

Tilbert had been facing charges of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm in connection with an accident near Keefer Lake at the Monashee Summit east of Cherryville at around 2:15 p.m. on Nov. 23, 2009.

“I can’t tell specifics of a case for reasons for Crown’s decision (to stay charges),” said Crown lawyer Shirley Meldrum.

“Crown has an ongoing responsibility to make sure a case we bring before the court is a strong solid case and that it continues throughout the case.”

Tilbert’s lawyer, Paul Danyliu, said the reason for the charges being stayed was due to a miscalculation of the speed Tilbert was alleged to be travelling at the time of the accident.

Police reported in November 2009 that a Ford five-ton truck travelling west with two occupants was involved in a sideswipe collision with an eastbound loaded logging truck, driven by Tilbert.

The Ford was then rear-ended by a Toyota SUV with four occupants.

The driver of the Ford, Lee Gord Pasemko, 37, of Kamloops, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Six people – Tilbert, a passenger in the Pasemko vehicle and the four occupants of the Toyota – were taken to hospital. Road and weather conditions were listed as poor at the time.

The crash closed the highway for more than four hours.

Danyliu was pleased with the result for his client.

“This man (Tilbert) has suffered from anxiety, had the fear of prison and, more importantly, losing his livelihood,” said Danyliu.

“Had he been convicted, he would have lost his licence for at least two years.”



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