Before Richard Kachkar was subdued by the Toronto Police Emergency Task Force (ETF) January 12th 2011 near Keele and Humberside, some members of the elite unit thought someone on their team might die.
What they didn’t know at the time was the snowplow had already left a deadly trail.
About an hour after the plow, driven by Kachkar, struck and killed Toronto Police Sgt. Ryan Russell, it finally stopped in a collision with a garbage truck.
ETF officers testified in court Wednesday during the ninth day of the trial, telling the jury about their role in the takedown of Kachkar.
Court heard that the officers surrounded the plow, firing Tasers inside the vehicle but the situation appeared like it may turn deadly when the weapons were turned off.
When the Tasers stopped, Cst. Errol Watson told the jury he heard the vehicle “start to rev.”
The plow lurched forward several feet according to testimony, pinning Watson between the plow and the garbage truck.
“I’m stuck! I’m stuck! I’m stuck! I started screaming this at the top of my lungs,” he testified. “I can’t move.”
Watson told court that at the time he thought he was “going to break my leg at the very least…if the pressure becomes (more) severe…it’s probably going to take my leg off.”
Cst. Craig Ashman told the court he heard Watson shouting about his predicament.
“I could tell by the sound of his voice that he was in extreme pain…if the plow kept going forward he’s going to die.”
He drew his 9mm Luger pistol and asked to see Kachkar’s hands. When he didn’t get the response he was looking for the jury heard he fired two shots into the vehicle.
“(The) driver slumped forward a little to the right…the plow stopped moving forward.”
Ashman wasn’t the only cop that thought the takedown could turn deadly.
Cst. Andrew Bozzer testified that as the plow lurched forward he thought to himself “I need to get my gun…one of us is going to get killed.”
Despite the pain, Watson managed to escape with his life. Team members found out later that Sgt. Ryan Russell wasn’t so lucky.
After Kachkar had been shot, he was pulled out of the plow. One of the first on scene was firefighter Eric Macmillan.
While treating Kachkar “he made mention of Russian video games…Russian Facebook…my mother was on Facebook…and another reference to 9/11.”
Riding in the back of an ambulance heading to St. Michael’s hospital, paramedic Bruce Campbell told the jury that Kachkar was concerned that the first responders were going to poison him or implant microchips into his body.
“He was quite adamant we were trying to hurt him,” Campbell testified.
Witnesses that came in contact with Kachkar at St. Michael’s in the days after the death of Sgt. Ryan Russell described other strange behavior.
Standing guard over Kachkar on January 13th, Cst. Jason Maunder saw Kachkar scribble down a note that appeared to read "Somethin was forcing me in my actions. I have never wanted hurt..." there are more words that are difficult to make out and then he signed his name.
Later, another police officer Elias Tissawak told the court that Kachkar, unprompted, asked: “Is everyone mad at me now? I should not have been there on the sidewalk.”
Cst. Martin McLaughlin stood guard over Kachkar in hospital on January 14th. He told court that when asked by a spiritual counselor how he was feeling Kachkar responded: “ I feel like I made a mistake…I didn’t plan it all out.”
McLaughlin also testified that a doctor visited Kachkar later that day and asked him several questions. When asked what day Christmas was, Kachkar responded “June 24th.”
The crown’s case is expected to finish shortly.