Attempted murder trial proceeds

Kelowna trial deals with incident along Westside Road in 2012

  • Sep. 10, 2014 5:00 a.m.

KATHY MICHAELS

Black Press

The calm of a relaxing tour through wine country was shattered for a couple who found themselves with a front row seat to a high speed gun battle between the occupants of a van being pursued by Mounties.

Gwen and Darren Fayant told the court about their view of the now infamous July 31 2012 chase that led police through West Kelowna into the outer reaches of Vernon, Monday, as week two of Michael Ellis’s attempted murder trial got underway

Between 1:15 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. on a “nice, warm sunny day,” the Fayants were at the end of Mission Hill Drive, where it intersects with Boucherie Road.

Gwen testified she was looking straight ahead, into the distance, when her attention sharply shifted right.

“I heard what sounded like fire crackers going off … or bubble wrap, actually,” she said.

Looking to see what the noise was coming from, she saw a lighter coloured van speeding along Boucherie, with two “ghost cars” in hot pursuit.

The cop cars had their emergency lights on and sirens followed soon after, she said. Then a second series of pops went off.

Immediately after police vehicles came to a stop in front of their vehicle, while the speeding van took off into the distance.

“A police officer got out right away and he was patting himself down to check if anything hit him,” she said, noting that he seemed “disoriented and concerned.”

The officer patting himself down was Cpl. Brian Harris, the court heard last week. He had been in pursuit of the van for four kilometers before several shots struck his vehicle, including one that pierced the window. In the car behind him was Const. Mike Phillion.

The Fayants drove toward the officer and asked if he was OK.

They then drove on around 100 feet ahead, parked and gave their contact information, in case it would be needed.

When asked if she could recognize the driver of the van within the courtroom Monday, Gwen said “no.”

Her husband Darren, however, named Ellis the driver.

Other than that disparity, their accounts of the events that day were very similar:

There was a man with lighter hair at the wheel of a van speeding ahead of two police cars.

They heard four to five shots fired in quick succession and saw two police cars pull over as the van sped away. The bullets, they both said, seemed to come from the van.

When asked what the impact of the series of events was, Darren said “great.”

“At first I was shocked it happened—I was nervous, shaking,” he said.

“To this day I can see … it clearly in my mind. It’s something I’ll never forget. It was traumatic. I’ve never seen or heard anybody be shot at.”

Ellis is charged with 22 offences, including five counts of attempted murder.

The trial is scheduled to continue for four more weeks.

 

Just Posted

Casey Affleck’s movie Light of My Life features Southern Interior of B.C.

Film features Academy Award and Emmy Award winners

Forest fires spotted near Greenwood and Christina Lake

Aircraft and ground crews attacked both fires on Thursday

Sisters trot across Canada for guide dogs

The Keca sisters passed through the Boundary earlier this week

Cannabis category added to Grand Forks Fall Fair

Mayor to be among judges evaluating look, smell and ‘burnability’

Residents petition for pre-flood value buyout, say Grand Forks case could set B.C. precedent

A petition will be presented to the B.C. Minister of Public Safety next week

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Politicians say elections law restricting partisan ads is ‘absurd,’ ‘lunacy’

Election Canada’s choice to cite climate change as a specific example has left environment groups feeling muzzled

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Conservative Leader Scheer won’t ‘lift finger’ to bring ‘Jihadi Jack’ to Canada

About 190 people with connections to Canada are suspected of terrorist activity abroad

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Most Read