Amanda Wahobin, passenger in Whitstone's vehicle, among witnesses on second day of coroner's inquest

From battlefordsNOW
December 4, 2018 - 11:34am Updated: December 4, 2018 - 7:14pm

Amanda Wahobin, the passenger in Brydon Whitstone's vehicle the night he was fatally shot by an RCMP officer, said she doesn't know why Whitstone reached to put his right hand into his pants after being asked to exit the car, as she said he didn't have a weapon.

Wahobin testified on the second day of the coroner's inquest into Whitestone's death last fall in North Battleford.

In her testimony, she said that Whitstone had given her his rings, bracelet and watch earlier that day before they went out in the car, saying he wanted her to keep them in case he didn’t make it back that night. 

She testified she was aware the white Buick LeSabre they were riding in, which she got from a friend, was stolen, but she didn’t know if Whitstone knew.

Before a short police chase ensued, Wahobin told the court that as the two were being followed, Whitstone said to her “Are you ready my minion?” as he planned to flee.

Whitstone had not taken drugs that day, that she was aware of, and neither had she. An autopsy found Whitstone had meth in his system the night he died.

Wahobin initially said she didn’t recall saying in her statement to police that Whitstone said earlier on Oct. 21, 2017, he wanted to die. However, after reading the statement again when it was shown to her in court, Wahobin said she did remember that he had mentioned that.

RCMP Const. Matthew McKay, who was on patrol that evening, took the stand after Wahobin and described what he recalled from the night.

While on patrol, McKay said he started to follow the white four-door sedan when he saw it, as it was similar to one described in a 9-1-1 call to the RCMP earlier in a complaint about shots being fired in a drive-by shooting.

McKay said he alerted other RCMP members to respond when it failed to stop.

McKay testified that the vehicle crashed into two police vehicles and was badly damaged before it finally came to rest. He approached the passenger side and removed Wahobin and took her into custody after Whitstone was shot.

Paramedic Richard Kenkel also took the stand Tuesday and said Whitstone had no pulse and was not breathing when he arrived on the scene after the 22-year-old from the Onion Lake First Nation was shot.

He found Whitstone lying on his back on the ground, with his hands handcuffed above his head. He said an officer was doing compressions on Whitstone at the time.

Kenkel said while there was little electrical activity in Whitstone’s heart, that quickly deteriorated. Whitstone was declared dead in the ambulance on the way to the hospital at 9:38 p.m.

Kenkel said Whitstone had “copious” amounts of blood loss and he saw wounds where two bullets had entered his body.

While paramedics attempted to resuscitate Whitstone, Kenkel said, based on the amount of trauma to his body, it was unlikely he could be saved. 

Earlier Tuesday, RCMP collision reconstruction expert Robert Topping addressed court.

Topping said the white Buick LeSabre Whitstone was driving was involved in four collisions in the area of 15 Avenue that night and sustained significant damage.

He said the vehicle was travelling at high speeds when it hit a Ford Escape in an alley, then a fence and a Chevrolet Tahoe on the road, before it hit a fire hydrant and came to rest on 15 Avenue. 

Topping was shown a number of photos from the scene while giving his statement.

He said there was some light rain when he examined the scene the morning after the collision, which he conceded can make it harder to interpret the evidence. 

Tuesday morning, the mother and brothers of Colten Boushie arrived at Court of Queen's Bench in Battleford. 

Debbie Baptiste sat in the same room earlier this year in the criminal trial for Gerald Stanley, who was found not guilty in the shooting death of her son.

Jace Baptiste, Colten's brother, said they wanted to show their support for the Whitstone family in the same way people supported them during the trial.

Debbie said Whitstone's mother, Dorothy Laboucane, is going through a hard time and wants justice for her son, much like she did. She called on First Nation's people to come and support the family.

Ruth Lewis, Dorothy's sister, said she is doing what she can to support her and Albert Whitstone.

"My sister is struggling through it, having to relive her son's death," she said. 

Lewis is a former advanced EMT and commended the paramedics for at least trying to save Whitstone.

Monday, the court heard from three of 18 witnesses expected.

Among them was Regina Police Service Detective Sgt. Pierre Beauchesne, who was the lead investigator in the independent investigation into the shooting. It determined no criminal charges would be laid against the officer involved.

The court heard that many bullets but no weapon was found on Whitstone after he was shot.

Stephanie Lavallee, the lawyer representing the Whitstone family, said they were expecting a sense of justice from the inquest, but that is not what it's about.

However, she said they still want "the answers that are going to give them a sense of closure about how their son met his death."
 
The inquest is anticipated to run all week at Court of Queen's Bench in Battleford.

 

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