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Driver in fatal crash expected to plead not guilty in theft

Jun 15 2012

An 18-year-old Sooke man identified as the driver of a car involved in a fatal crash on West Coast Road is expected to plead not guilty to a violent theft in Sooke in early May.

David James Chiasson appeared Thursday morning by video in Western Communities provincial court from the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre.

He is charged with using violence to try to steal lottery tickets, juice and a bottle of vodka from a Sooke resident; assault with a weapon; possession of a prohibited weapon - bear spray; and possessing a prohibited weapon while prohibited by a court order. The offences are alleged to have taken place in Sooke on May 6.

Defence lawyer Kirk Karaszkiewicz, acting as an agent for Chiasson's lawyer Bradley Hickford, said Chiasson is expected to plead not guilty to the four charges. He asked for an adjournment of two weeks because the Crown wants to have further discussions with Hickford.

According to police, the alleged robbery and assault took place May 6 about 6 p.m. A 34-year-old man was leaving the Chevron gas station on Sooke Road when he was approached by a man demanding "everything."

When the 34-year-old refused to hand over his possessions, he was sprayed in the face with bear spray. The victim called 911 and police and paramedics came to his assistance.

The victim told police the man who accosted him was the driver in the fatal crash on Sooke Road. He said he recognized him from a TV interview.

Chiasson was arrested May 7.

Nicolas Twiddy was killed in the April 9 crash on West Coast Road. The 15-year-old had been a student at Edward Milne Community School before transferring to Pacific Secondary.

Two others, Steve Livingstone, 18, and 15-year-old Maria Forbes, were injured.

Nic's mother, Lisa Twiddy, attended Chiasson's brief court appearance on Thursday. She said a fundraiser was being planned in Sooke for July 7 to raise money for Nic's funeral and memorial garden plot. So far, plans include a garage sale, a barbecue and a cake walk and raffle. Volunteers are needed.

Twiddy said friends go to the memorial gardens in Colwood to remember Nic, instead of visiting the makeshift memorial at the crash site on Sooke Road, a dangerous spot that has no sidewalks and is prone to speeders.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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