A Big River man accused of driving impaired and injuring five youth appeared in court this morning seeking his release on bail.
Colt Levi Morin, 20, is facing numerous charges including impaired driving causing bodily harm after he allegedly struck five youth with his vehicle while they were walking home from soccer practice April 9. All five youth were injured in the incident, and an 11-year-old girl was taken to Saskatoon for treatment by STARS Air Ambulance.
Morin appeared this morning in Prince Albert Provincial Court via video link from the Prince Albert Correctional Centre seeking his release from custody.
Crown prosecutor Gail Douglas said statements and evidence gathered by Big River RCMP indicate Morin was drinking at a bar in Debden April 9, and left the bar in a truck which broke down a short distance outside the reservation. Friends in a white four-door car offered a ride, Douglas said, and Morin allegedly took over driving.
RCMP were called to assist paramedics at the scene of the collision shortly after 9 p.m., Douglas said, where they found the 11-year-old girl vomiting blood in the arms of her mother. Douglas said the children gave statements to police which indicated they were walking in the ditch when a white, four-door car swerved towards them at high speed.
One of the male youth was able to push his female friend out of the path of the oncoming vehicle, Douglas said, which saved her from serious injury while he himself was struck on the leg. One of the youth later told police the driver “tried to bump us and didn’t stop,” Douglas said.
Douglas said the damaged white four-door returned to the scene but was turned away by police shortly after they closed the road. Morin was observed to be driving while “grossly intoxicated,” Douglas said, but because they were not yet suspects RCMP told the group they did not have time to deal with them and Morin switched seats with a sober passenger and the group drove away.
After an investigation by RCMP including collision reconstruction, Morin was arrested and charged by RCMP April 12.
Douglas said Morin gave a statement to police following his arrest in which he claimed he knew he hit something but was too scared to check. Morin claimed he did not report the incident because he knew he was intoxicated and did not hold a driver’s licence, Douglas said.
“The Crown’s concerns are for the safety of the community,” Douglas said.
Morin’s lawyer Mary McAuley acknowledged the seriousness of the charges against her client, but said the full story has not yet come out.
McAuley said evidence introduced at trial will show Morin was not the driver, and said the car swerved to avoid a collision with another vehicle. The RCMP used aggressive tactics in gathering statements, McAuley said, which may raise Charter issues at trial.
Morin has been attending alcohol treatment programming while incarcerated and maintains a stable job, McAuley said. She requested Morin be released to his grandmother’s home in Big River on conditions including 24-hour electronic monitoring.
“If he is released, he does have a stable residence to go to,” she said.
Judge Earl Kalenith said he would like more time to consider the facts presented during the hearing, and reserved his decision until May 9. Morin was remanded into custody until his next appearance.
On Twitter: @TMacPhersonNews
Editor's Note: Commenting on this story is closed now that the case is before the courts.
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