An Edmonton driver admitted Monday he struck a senior citizen in a 2013 fatal accident, but pleaded not guilty to impaired driving causing death. Sivakumar Devarajah, 55, entered his plea as his trial began in connection to the death of 77 year old Agnes Morgan, who was fatally struck in a west end crosswalk on the afternoon of Feb. 4, 2013.
Eyewitness Thomas Pollard testified he smelled alcohol on Devarajah's breath shortly after the crash. "It smelled like he had been drinking. He came up and his eyes were all red and he was talking right in my face."
Pollard was driving through the intersection of 156th Street and 110th Avenue when he heard the impact. Moments before, he saw Morgan standing on the corner with her cane, waiting to cross.
"She had the perfect right to walk," Pollard said. "She did everything right."
Pollard called 911 and said Morgan was convulsing and he feared her injuries were fatal.
Denis Moreau also witnessed the accident and told court he thought Devarajah was a "sloppy" driver. Though the impact was light, Moreau testified, he worried about Morgan due to her age.
"She wasn't hit very hard, but I knew she was an older lady. She did go about six or seven feet away from the truck."
Crown prosecutor Kim Goddard started the trial with Devarajah's admission that he struck Morgan in the crosswalk with his Ford pickup as he was making a left turn. Morgan died hours later in the Royal Alexandra Hospital from a severe head injury.
Defence lawyer William Tatarchuk told court he plans to argue police lacked grounds to order a breath sample from Devarajah and thus breached his rights.
At the time of the crash, police said the driver's blood alcohol level was double the legal limit.
Morgan was a longtime volunteer for the Salvation Army?s Christmas kettle campaign in Edmonton and was also involved with the United Church.