Driver charged in hit and run tes­ti­fies he thought he hit curb

Ac­cused in fa­tal col­li­sion ‘can’t ex­plain’ why he didn’t see on­com­ing mo­tor­cy­cle

Edmonton Journal - - CITY - PAIGE PAR­SONS ppar­sons@post­media.com twit­ter.com/paigeepar­sons

A driver on trial for an al­leged hi­tand-run that left a young woman dead told court he thought he’d struck a curb or a pot­hole when he drove away from the scene.

David Ger­shon Bookhal­ter, 63, is charged with fail­ure to stop at the scene of an ac­ci­dent know­ing bod­ily harm was caused and fail­ure to stop at the scene of an ac­ci­dent know­ing death was caused in con­nec­tion to a col­li­sion with a mo­tor­cy­cle on May 11, 2015.

Court heard Thurs­day that Bookhal­ter ad­mits the col­li­sion caused the death of Christina Shi-Jin Goh, 26, and in­juries to her boyfriend Michael Liu, who tes­ti­fied ear­lier this week.

Tak­ing the stand in his own de­fence Thurs­day, Bookhal­ter said on the evening of the crash, he was on his way home from a char­ity event at a golf course.

He said he had con­sumed half a glass of wine, but was not im­paired when he climbed into a sil­ver four-door In­finiti.

Un­der ques­tion­ing from his lawyer, Kent Teskey, Bookhal­ter said he “can’t ex­plain” why he didn’t see the on­com­ing mo­tor­cy­cle when he turned left at an in­ter­sec­tion on 122 Street near the on-ramp to White­mud Drive.

He said that he sud­denly felt and heard a “bump,” and be­lieved he had hit a pot­hole, curb or some other im­per­fec­tion in the road.

Af­ter a de­lay of a few sec­onds, an airbag on the pas­sen­ger side de­ployed, block­ing his view out that side of the ve­hi­cle, he tes­ti­fied.

He said he looked out his front win­dow and rear-view mir­ror, but didn’t see any­thing.

On Mon­day, court heard wit­nesses at the scene rushed to aid Goh and Liu af­ter they were thrown from the mo­tor­cy­cle.

Crown pros­e­cu­tor John Ba­harus­tani ques­tioned Bookhal­ter about the force of the im­pact, not­ing a curb is typ­i­cally only 10 to 15 cen­time­tres high.

“It was like my rear wheel go­ing over a bump,” Bookhal­ter said.

He said his car seemed op­er­a­tional, so he de­cided to drive home.

Pho­tos ad­mit­ted as ex­hibits show the crushed pas­sen­ger-side rear door of Bookhal­ter’s car, with dam­age stretch­ing up to the win­dow.

When he parked in his garage and walked around the ve­hi­cle and saw the dam­age, he said he was “stunned.”

When po­lice ar­rived at his house, Bookhal­ter showed them the dam­age.

He was in the midst of fill­ing out an ac­ci­dent re­port when the of­fi­cers got a call and then told him he was be­ing charged.

When they told him a young woman had died in the crash, he said he walked into his bed­room and lay on the floor cry­ing.

“I was just dev­as­tated,” Bookhal­ter said.

Both sides are ex­pected to make clos­ing ar­gu­ments Fri­day.

It was like my rear wheel go­ing over a bump.

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