Canada Family of young man killed in 2015 car crash questions pace of N.B. justice

10:36  06 april  2018
10:36  06 april  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

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a man holding a sign posing for the camera: Ben Williams, 20, was killed in a car crash on May 21, 2015.© Submitted Ben Williams, 20, was killed in a car crash on May 21, 2015.

The family of  Ben Williams, who died at age 20 in the crumpled passenger seat of a Honda Civic in Fundy National Park, says the slow pace of justice has only compounded their grief.

It took 27 months to lay charges against Andrew Zirpolo, now accused of driving while impaired and causing Ben's death.

At a ninth court date on the matter in Moncton on Thursday, Zirpolo had yet to make an appearance or enter a plea.

Instead, lawyer James Fowler appeared on his behalf and said he was waiting for disclosure from the Crown.

Ben's grandmother broke down crying outside the courthouse after hearing the adjournment.

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"Nothing has come out of it yet," said Jeanette Williams, a retired seamstress.

"Questions are dodged. You just don't get any answers."

Accident reports

When the RCMP reported the collision in a news release, they said they responded  "before  11:15 p.m. " on May 21, 2015.

Ben Williams died in the passenger seat of this Honda Civic.© Submitted by Sue Williams Ben Williams died in the passenger seat of this Honda Civic.

They confirmed one man was dead and a 21-year-old Sackville man had been taken to hospital with serious, life-threatening injuries.

They said it appeared that a car had collided with a pickup truck.

Ben's remains would later be examined by the coroner, who put the time of death at 9:48 p.m.

The doctor noted that Ben had suffered a skull fracture, brain hemorrhage, disruption of cortical brain tissue, as well as a broken nose and a broken leg.

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The toxicologist reported elevated levels of alcohol in his blood and the presence of "marijuana metabolites."

Mother questions delays

Ben's mother, Sue Williams, says it's been difficult to follow proceedings from her home in Moorefield, Ont.

She said the police told her that charges were delayed because of the severity of Zirpolo's injuries and uncertainty about whether he would survive.

She said police also told her there were problems with the evidence.

"They sent blood work," she said.

"But the weight was left off the acquisition form."

When asked about these issues, RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said she couldn't comment on any private conversations that might have taken place between Williams and any police members.

She declined to comment on any questions about the evidence.

And when asked about the length of time it took for charges to be laid, Rogers-Marsh said some investigations take longer.

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Tragic outcome for both friends

Williams says Ben and Zirpolo met in Lewisville Middle School in Moncton around the age of 12.

She said she's heard from their friends that the two were going camping that night and had intended to stay out in a tent.

After Ben's funeral, Sue said she visited the stretch of Route 114 where the accident happened and took video of the scene.

a man wearing a hat: Ben Williams' grandmother, Jeannette Williams, went to the Moncton courthouse on Thursday to represent her family.© CBC Ben Williams' grandmother, Jeannette Williams, went to the Moncton courthouse on Thursday to represent her family.

She posted it on Facebook along with some notes.

"I wanted to see if they forgot anything and how far the debris went. It was scattered all the way up the hill, in small fragments, bearings, signal light wires from the car with pieces still attached," she wrote.

"It went for several [hundred metres] from the impact site."

A prosecutor declined to answer any questions about Zirpolo's condition but said he has not been attending hearings and has designated his lawyer to do so.

Zirpolo is being represented by James Fowler.

The case has been adjourned for a plea on April 24 .

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