A BC Supreme Court judge heard this week how a woman in Chilliwack allegedly ran over a 78-year-old woman in a marked crosswalk, fled the scene, and then acted like nothing happened at a strip mall just two blocks away.
The trial of 73-year-old Linnea Louise Labbee began on Monday (March 8) in front of Justice Brenda Brown, continued Tuesday and is scheduled to run for 20 days.
Labbee is charged with one count of failure to stop at an accident causing bodily harm related to the incident on Dec. 1, 2016 that killed septuagenarian Fourghozaman Firoozian, who was called “Farouk” by those who knew her.
Farouk, who was a much-loved community volunteer, was on the road in a marked crosswalk at the intersection of Mary Street and Patten Avenue.
Crown counsel Joe Saulnier began the trial Monday by outlining the prosecution’s case against Labbee, who was present in court and is representing herself.
Saulnier said will be calling civilian witnesses to the accident, the arresting RCMP officer, and witnesses from stores at Southgate Shopping Centre where Labbee claims to have been while the accident occurred.
Saulnier said he intends to show evidence that Labbee was driving the truck southbound on Mary Street that day more than four years ago, struck Farouk in the crosswalk at Patten, then drove over her, stopped for a moment before leaving the scene.
“The Crown will argue the accused knew bodily harm was caused and left the scene to avoid liability.”
Saulnier said eyewitnesses will testify that after striking the victim, the pickup turned left onto Ontario Street and ended up in the Southgate parking lot. One witness got the licence plate of Labbee’s grey Dodge truck. A piece of plastic at the accident scene matched a missing piece from Labbee’s truck grill, and the victim’s DNA was found on the inner wheel of the truck.
“There is little doubt about the vehicle that ran over the victim,” Saulnier said, adding that when Labbee was later arrested on Hope River Road two-and-a-half hours later, Labbee was in the passenger seat and the truck was being driven by a male.
Saulnier said that Labbee’s alibi in her defence will be that she was at Southgate all morning and during the time of the hit-and-run just after noon.
“She believes someone stole her truck, presumably ran over the victim, and then remarkably returned the truck to approximately where it had been parked before,” he told the court.
Saulnier said he plans to show evidence of a bank withdrawal at 12:11 p.m. from Labbee’s CIBC bank account on the corner of Princess Avenue and Young Road. He will argue that she then drove west on Princess, south on Mary, struck the victim, then turned left on Ontario arriving at Southgate at 12:21 p.m., which is the first time she appears on surveillance footage at the plaza.
One of the first witnesses to testify was a former receptionist at the UPS store at Southgate, who told the court Labbee, who was a regular customer, came in that day to check her mailbox. While the employee was printing some labels for Labbee, the witness testified she remembered the accused went to the front of the store and was looking “back and forth out the front door.”
The trial continues.
See www.theprogress.com for updates in the coming days.
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