Video: Emotional Second Day at Kachkar Trial
Sgt. Ryan Russell's final moments were both seen and heard in courtroom 4-9 at 361 University Avenue Tuesday on Day 2 of Richard Kachkar's first degree murder trial.
Christine Russell, Ryan's widow, wiped away tears as she and the rest of the courtroom watched dashboard video from his police cruiser as he drove northbound on Avenue Rd. January 12th, 2011 in search of a stolen snowplow driven by Richard Kachkar.
The video begins at Avenue and Bloor, just after Russell had one of the final conversations of his life, with airport limo driver Salman Akbar.
In his testimony to the court, Akbar said his car (travelling westbound on Bloor) had been struck by the snowplow heading south on Avenue during a left turn onto Bloor.
Akbar testified that he waved down Sgt. Russell, but the 35 year-old father of a two year old son spoke before Akbar could.
"Is it about the snow plow?" Asked Russell.
"Yes it's about the snow plow," Akbar responded.
The conversation lasted about a minute and Akbar told the court that Russell drove northbound on Avenue after telling him to "stay there and someone will take a report."
The video shows Russell driving through the snow with street lights illuminating Avenue Rd.
Through the front window of his car, Russell would have seen the snow plow pull a u-turn further north, near Davenport.
Russell was heard in court telling the radio dispatcher that the vehicle was coming at him. "Hold on." He said.
The veteran cop threw his vehicle in reverse when the plow started to head towards him.
According to the crown, when the plow slowed almost to a stop, Russell got out of the car, firing three shots at the vehicle when it accelerated towards him.
Russell is out of the view of the camera but the dashboard video catches the plow crashing into the front driver's side of the vehicle.
Russell was struck in the leg with the plow. That impact was not caught on tape.
The audio and video were the most dramatic evidence presented in court Tuesday.
8 witnesses were on the stand, some saying that the driver of the stolen snow plow seemed drunk when they saw it on Avenue Rd. on the morning of January 12th.
Cab driver Tamrat Beyene during cross examination told defence lawyer Bob Richardson that when he pulled up beside the plow the driver screamed "what the f*** do you want? Why are you following me. I don't care."
Richardson asked Beyene to recall his 911 call to police. Beyene told the cops the plow driver "must have been drunk."
Video showed the stolen snowplow smashing through the front glass of a Maserati dealership on Avenue Road.
Michael Hau, a concierge for the building connected to the dealership had a quick interaction with the plow driver, shortly after shards of glass went flying through the showroom.
"You thought this guy was either drunk or on drugs?" Asked defence lawyer Bob Richardson.
"Yes," said Hau.
"So I gather you felt that there was something not right about this guy?" Asked Richardson.
"That's what I felt, yes," said Hau.
During the crown's opening statement court was told that only trace amounts of cannabis were found in Kachkar's system after Russell was struck by the plow.