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Man charged with 10 counts; impaired driving, in fatal double hit-and-run

(by Todd Coyne, The Tri-City News)

There were sighs of anger in Port Coquitlam court Monday as Cory Sater, the man accused of running down and killing Lorraine Cruz, 26, and Charlene Reaveley, 30, did not appear for his hearing. Sater, 37, of Coquitlam, is facing 10 charges including two counts of impaired driving causing death and one count of impaired driving causing bodily harm stemming from a Saturday morning hit-and-run on Lougheed Highway at Pitt River Road. Sater’s lawyer, Tony Serka, appeared on behalf of his client and made the unusual request that Sater not appear before the court, but rather remain in police custody until March 3, when he will appear by video only to set a date for his bail hearing. Brian Reaveley, Charlene’s father-in-law, said he was disappointed but not surprised that Sater didn’t show his face in the courtroom packed with media and friends and family of the deceased. “It’s frankly what I expected. This will be dragged out and his lawyer will do his best to keep it out of the public eye,” he said. “My son has lost his wife and four kids lost their mother — how would anybody deal with this?” “It’s not a good situation,” he added. His daughter-in-law is remembered by friends and neighbours as a loving wife, a mother of four young children and a Good Samaritan who ultimately lost her life while trying to help two strangers. The incident began at approximately 12:25 a.m. Saturday when Lorraine Cruz of Port Coquitlam was driving westbound with her boyfriend, Paulo Calimahin, when their Nissan Pathfinder struck a concrete median on Lougheed Highway near Riverview Hospital. Witnessing the accident, Charlene and husband Dan Reaveley, pulled to the side of the road and approached the Pathfinder to find the couple shaken but not seriously injured, according to police. Then, while Dan looked on, a white Jeep Cherokee careened down Lougheed and straight into Charlene, Lorraine and Paulo who were standing by the passenger side of the Pathfinder. The two women were killed instantly and Calimahin was left with serious injuries to his head and leg while the Jeep drove off and “didn’t slow down,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Mark McCutcheon said. Calimahin was taken to Royal Columbian Hospital where he remained Monday. Laurie Case, a witness who came upon the accident about a minute after it happened, said she knew right away that the two women were dead. “I knew even before I got out of the car,” she said. “I went over to [Dan] and I just tried my best to be with him.” Dan, she added, was in severe shock and was moving back and forth between his wife and the injured boyfriend while they waited for paramedics to arrive. Case said she was “pretty shaken up” by the incident and had been speaking with victims’ services. “The aftermath of something like that is not something anybody should ever see,” she said. “It was violent.” Following up on witness’ leads, a white 1995 Jeep Cherokee was located “abandoned in the Cape Horn area” about two hours after the hit and run, McCutcheon said. Police confiscated the vehicle and ran forensic tests on it Saturday to determine who its driver was. After publicly appealing for the driver to come forward and turn himself in, police arrested Sater on Sunday. Dr. Joti Samra, a clinical psychologist with a background in police forensics, told The Tri-City News that there are many reasons besides fleeing culpability that people will leave the scene of a horrific accident. “A lot of people just go into immediate shock and get quite dissociated from a circumstance that has happened,” Samra said, adding that she was not aware of all of the details around the crash when The News reached her at a health conference in Las Vegas Monday. “Some [people] are able to immediately recognize [what has happened], stop, be effective — do what we as an outsider would say is the ‘right thing to do’ — see what’s happened, communicate with the family, with police and all those kinds of things. Other times, the brain has a very powerful mechanism that shuts out what’s happened almost as if it’s convincing itself it hasn’t… and reasoning and rationality for many people can just go out the window.” Samra said that instances of someone fleeing a scene due to shock are a “best case scenario,” and admitted that there are people who will flee accidents that they know are serious in order to avoid blame. Alcohol or drug intoxication is often a factor in a motorist fleeing an accident as the penalty for leaving the scene is far less than that of impaired driving causing injury or death. As the grief process begins, Samra said that it is of utmost importance that the family and community hear from all of the people present at the accident, including the driver, to understand how such tragic events happen. “Death is almost impossible to make sense of and it’s so much more difficult for us to make sense of these things when they happen to kids, young people… It makes more sense when it’s someone who’s older… or someone like gang members where we can see it as bad things happening to bad people.” Click here to see Charlene Reaveley’s Facebook memorial page. With files from Gary McKenna


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