No way to say when damage to truck occurred, reconstructionist tells hit-and-run trial

A collision reconstructionist testified under cross-examination Friday that he has no doubt Brady Francis was struck by a vehicle because of the debris found at the fatal scene.

And RCMP Cpl. Michel Lanteigne reiterated for the Moncton courtroom that the damage to the front of Maurice Johnson's pickup truck was consistent with a pedestrian being struck.

But Lanteigne acknowledged he could not say whether the damage to the accused's truck occurred on Feb. 24, 2018, the night Francis was killed.

The body of the 22-year-old from Elsipogtog First Nation was found on Saint-Charles South Road in Saint-Charles, about 100 kilometres north of Moncton.

Johnson, 57, of Saint-Charles, has pleaded not guilty to failing to stop at the scene of an accident that caused a person's death.

The trial is scheduled to resume on Monday morning.

Defence lawyer Gilles Lemieux was set to begin his cross-examination of Lanteigne on Thursday afternoon, but requested an adjournment after learning a new witness had come forward in the nearly two-year-old case.

The unnamed person contacted the RCMP, the Moncton Court of Queen's Bench heard. No other details were released at the time and the matter was not discussed in court on Friday.

Lanteigne told the court his examination of Johnson's truck determined a person hit the hood, based on the damage.

Lemieux asked if the damage could be consistent with an animal being struck. Lanteigne replied animals often go under a vehicle and no evidence was found underneath Johnson's truck.

On Thursday, Lanteigne also told the court he found no hair from an animal on the vehicle.

Brady Francis/Facebook

Earlier Friday, the court heard from Lea Ighedosa, the former owner and operator of the Saint-Charles gas bar and store the night Francis was killed.

She testified she met with RCMP Const. Ricky LeBlond the afternoon after Francis was killed to review the footage from the store's security camera.

A segment of the video, which was played in court, shows Francis walking eastbound on the road in front of the gas station at around 9:30 p.m. — likely the last images of him alive.

Shortly after, a vehicle, possibly a pickup truck, drives by, heading in the same direction.

Security video from Josée Poirier was also submitted into evidence Friday. She and her fiancé are good friends with Francis' family, she told the court.

When she heard about the accident, she visited her mother and stepfather, who live on Saint-Charles South Road, to review their security camera footage.

Poirier copied about three hours of video — between 9 p.m. and midnight — and gave it to police. She did not watch all of the video and she did not edit or change it in any way, she said.

The trial began, which began on Monday, has heard from 24 witnesses so far.

It is scheduled to continue until Jan. 31.

Justice Denise LeBlanc is presiding.