Court hears from witnesses at scene of Costco crash
It was an emotional day as the trial of 66-year-old Ruth Burger, charged in the death of two sisters, began Monday.
Burger is facing four charges stemming from the Costco crash on July 25, 2014, that claimed the lives of six-year-old Addison Hall and her newborn sister Rhiannon Bozek.
Burger has pleaded not guilty to two counts of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.
There was an emotional moment Monday as the judge viewed surveillance footage from Costco of the car slamming through the store’s front entrance. Family of the victims could be seen crying and wiping away tears.
The judge ruled that the video and stills from the collision can be used in the trial, however captions describing the scene must be excluded.
Burger is being represented by Ron Ellis and the pair was seen arriving at court.
Both the Crown and defence have agreed that Burger was not suffering from any health issues, physical or mental, and that her 2004 Monte Carlo did not have a mechanical failure.
The first witness called was London Police Cst. Trevor MacDonald, an expert in accident reconstruction and crash data retrieval. MacDonald analyzed the Monte Carlo following the accident.
He reviewed photos of the car for the court, and photos of the shoes Burger was wearing during the collision.
Witnesses who spoke with Burger after the incident say Burger claimed her foot got caught under the brake pedal.
Karen Humphries, who was shopping at Costco, heard the crash and ran to help.
"It was carnage," at the scene, she said.
Humphries testified that Buger said, "Oh my God. I'm so sorry. What have I done?"
Humphries escorted Burger away from the scene.
Family members of the girls killed say they will make a statement at the end of the trial. A family spokesperson told media the family is asking people to consider organ donation.
The tragic collision occurred on Friday, July 25, 2014 when a vehicle backed through the front doors of the store striking several people.
Among those struck were Danah McKinnon-Bozek, who was eight months pregnant.
Addison Hall passed away in hospital. Rhiannon was delivered by emergency Caesarian section, but later passed away.
McKinnon-Bozek and her three-year-old daughter Miah Bozek were seriously injured in the crash.
The trial, which is before a judge, is slated to last five days.