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Trial opens in Tim Hortons crash case

Posted on April 30, 2014 by Taber Times

After seeing video footage taken by a Taber Tim Hortons security camera, a jury won’t have any trouble believing evidence that a large oil truck smashed into the wall of the building two years ago.

However, the difficulty may be deciding who was actually driving the truck.

Lethbridge Crown prosecutor Darwin Ross wants the jury to believe it was Jake Krahn of Taber who was driving the truck March 7, 2012 when it plowed into the back of a pickup truck, sending both vehicles crashing into the restaurant.

“Is he the one driving?” Ross asked the jury Tuesday at the start of Krahn’s week-long trial in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench.

Krahn, 30, is charged with possession of stolen property, impaired driving, dangerous driving, public mischief and uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm.

He is accused of driving a stolen oilfield truck, while he was impaired, into the Tim Hortons parking lot just before midnight, where he hit his own pickup truck, which, police reported at the time, his brother had parked there earlier. The building and vehicles sustained major damage but no one was hurt.

Several Crown witnesses testified Tuesday, including former Tim Hortons employee Ivan Arellano, who told court he had just taken an order from a customer when the two trucks smashed into the store. The video shown to the jury shows Arellano leaving the store, followed by the customer, and walking toward the two trucks. A man is seen walking from around the back of the oil truck, then shortly afterward following Arellano into the restaurant.

Arellano testified the man who walked from behind the truck smelled of alcohol and was likely drunk. The man also told Arellano that he had been driving the oil truck and the pickup truck belonged to him, as well.

Although Arellano said he would probably recognize the man if he saw him again, he couldn’t identify Krahn who was sitting nearby in the prisoner’s dock.

Geoffrey Derouin, general manager of the oilfield trucking company for which Krahn worked before he quit in December 2011, also testified, and told court even though Krahn quit, he could tell during his exit interview that the accused was “disgruntled.” He also said Krahn regularly drove the truck.

But operations manager Mark Hirch testified under cross-examination by defence lawyer Greg White, that Krahn was not the exclusive driver of that particular vehicle during his employment, and several other employees had driven it, as well.

Court was told that days before the incident the truck had been taken out of service and parked in a service bay waiting to be repaired. When Hirch went to the bay on March 8 following the incident, the large overhead door was open.

Truck driver Peter Froese testified that he went to the service bay later in the day, as well, and found among the trash lying against a nearby chain link fence, a receipt belonging to the accused. He also noted under cross-examination that there is often a lot of garbage blown up against the fence.

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