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Fatal Tsawwassen crash involving Mountie goes before the court

A memorial set up following the accident in October 2008 marks the area where Tsawwassen
A memorial set up following the accident in October 2008 marks the area where Tsawwassen's Orion Hutchinson was killed.
— image credit: Leader file photo

A preliminary inquiry will be held this month to see if the RCMP officer involved in a fatal Tsawwassen crash will go to trial.

Cpl. Benjamin Montgomery Robinson was charged with obstructing justice following the October 25, 2008 collision that killed 21-year-old Orion Hutchinson at Gilchrist Drive and 6 Ave.

That evening, around 10:30 p.m., the off-duty officer's Jeep collided with the young Tsawwassen man's motorcycle. Robinson left the scene of the crash and walked home where he claims to have consumed two shots of vodka to calm his nerves before returning to the site.

According to Delta Police, Robinson's breath samples gave readings of .12 and .10 mgs of alcohol (the legal limit is .08).

A coroner's toxicological analysis also reported alcohol in Hutchinson's blood.

The engineering analysis found Robinson was travelling between 24 and 29 km/h at the time of the collision, and showed Hutchinson was travelling between 66 and 96 km/hr.

Said coroner Mark Coleman, "Speed and alcohol intoxication on the part of Mr. Hutchinson were contributing factors. Alcohol intoxication on the part of the driver of the Jeep is also believed to be a contributing factor. I classify this death as accidental and make no recommendation."

Hutchinson's family issued a written statement following the coroner's report that took issue with the coroner's description of the vehicle speeds.

"...someone going straight is certainly going to be going faster than someone who is turning a corner (who should actually be slowed to virtually a stop), so [we] find the wording around that very deceptive," they said.

Robinson sought to have his driving suspension overturned on the grounds his blood alcohol level was due to the two shots of vodka consumed after the crash. He said he also drank two beers at a party around 5:30 p.m.

Justice Mark McEwan dismissed his petition.

The preliminary inquiry to decide whether a full trial is ordered is scheduled to take place April 18 to 21 at Surrey Provincial Court.

—with files from Dan Ferguson

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