Haunted death: Judge clears man in friend’s fatality

haunted by death

He may have been cleared of all criminal responsibility in the traffic death of his buddy, but a Calgary man is still haunted by his loss.

“Jesse’s still gone,” the accused said yesterday, moments after being cleared of failing a breathalyzer following a crash which triggered Jesse Eugene Roberts’ death. “I deal with that every day.”

Justice Patrick Sullivan said he believed the accused evidence that he consumed a six-pack of beer and one shot of whiskey in the hours leading up to the March 8, 2003 freak incident.

Sullivan said expert testing showed that based on the accused rate of elimination from his system his blood/alcohol content would have been half the legal limit.

As a result, the Queen’s Bench judge rejected two readings taken by police an hour after the accused lost control of his pickup of .11 and .10 – both above the legal limit of .08. the accused, 25, was driving westbound on Glenmore Tr. at Deerfoot Tr. S.E. when he lost control of his truck on icy roads. The vehicle flipped, landing in the opposite lanes. After the crash Roberts got out and was struck and killed by an oncoming car.
The accused was originally charged with impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death, but those were dismissed at a preliminary inquiry.

Following the verdict, defence lawyer Pat Fagan suggested police should never have charged his client with causing Roberts’ death.

“It’s a very sad case, nobody wins here,” Fagan said. “He should never have been charged with impaired causing and dangerous causing death … (Roberts) could’ve stepped into a manhole,” Fagan said.

The two men grew up together in New Brunswick before moving to Calgary.

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