SYDNEY, NS — A Cape Breton man charged with driving a 10-year-old girl to death pleaded guilty Wednesday to one of four charges.
Colin Hugh Tweedie, 30, of Big Bras d’Or, pleaded guilty to resisting/obstructing a police officer by telling investigators another individual was driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Tweedie’s trial before a Supreme Court judge continues for three remaining offences: impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death and flight from the scene of an accident.
He is charged with the death of 10-year-old Talia Neveah Forrest, of Sydney Mines, who was struck and killed by a vehicle along Black Rock Road in Victoria County on July 11, 2019. At the time , Forrest was out for a bike ride with a friend.
Prosecutors Nicole Campbell and John MacDonald submitted an agreed statement of facts on the obstruction charge which was signed by Tweedie.
Tweedie initially told police his girlfriend was driving the vehicle and they believed he hit a deer.
After several hours in police custody, Tweedie admitted he was in fact the driver.
The trial, scheduled to last 10 days, continued to hear testimony about the crash scene on Tuesday.
David MacLean, 19, a resident of Black Rock Road, said he was walking along the road to another house when he came across a pink bicycle in the middle of the road. He said he moved the bike, which no longer had a front tire, to the side of the road for safety.
Later he heard sirens and decided to stay by the bike and then gave a statement to the police.
For Crown witness Noelle MacLean, remembering what she saw and heard the night of the crash was at times too emotional as she broke down and cried as she gave her testimony.
She said she heard a loud bang in her house followed by someone shouting loudly.
She went to the front door and saw a young girl screaming as she stood in the road. She motioned for the girl to come to her house and called 911.
“She said her friend was hit by a car and she thought she was dead,” MacLean said, recalling the girl’s comments.
MacLean said she and her young daughter left their house and went on the road when they found a flip-flop and a bicycle tire.
“We started calling out his name and looking in ditches and tall grass,” said MacLean, who as he searched encountered more debris and began to think the victim might have been more seriously injured. just a broken bone.
It was MacLean who found Forrest’s body, lying face down on a neighbor’s lawn.
“The first thing I noticed was June’s thumbtack on her foot and I thought if she was okay she wouldn’t let the thumbtack on her foot,” MacLean said.
Returning home with her young daughter, MacLean said all the two could do was sit and cry with each other as they both felt so helpless.
RCMP constable. Joseph Wallace also said Tuesday that he responded to the scene and it only took him about 10 minutes to drive from Wagmatcook to Black Rock Road.
Defense attorney Tony Mozvik asked the officer if he was sure of his time of arrival at the scene and the officer said he was sure.
He testified that he noticed debris on the road, including plastic vehicle parts, vehicle paint chips, a bicycle wheel and children’s sandals. He says he uses interchangeable sandals and flip flops.
He said he was later called to the Tweedie home, which is further up the road.
Wallace said when he arrived, he placed a woman, identified as Elizabeth (Beth) Hart, in the back of his vehicle and then spoke to Tweedie.
He said there was a distinct smell of alcohol coming from Tweedie’s breath and he was unsteady on his feet. He discovered that Hart showed no signs of possible impairment. He later brought Tweedie back to Baddeck RCMP Detachment.
RCMP Corporal James Jessome told the court that based on information he received at the scene, he went to the Tweedie’s home located a short distance from the scene.
Upon entering the driveway, he said he needed to move part of the vehicle’s bumper that was blocking the driveway.
He said there was a strong smell of gas in the area and there was a Nissan Qashqai in the driveway with extensive front end damage.
Looking inside the vehicle, the officer said the driver and passenger airbags were deployed and he also noticed two bottles of beer.
Jessome said Hart identified herself as the driver of the vehicle, explaining that she thought she hit a deer. Hart was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident, but was later released.
The trial continues Thursday before Judge Mona Lynch.