Two years after a 26-year-old man joyriding in a snowplow killed a Toronto police sergeant, a Canadian jury this week learned the harrowing details through eye-witness testimony and a dashboard camera that captured the officer's last moments.
Sgt. Ryan Russell was killed after Richard Kachkar, who was homeless and appeared intoxicated, stumbled barefoot out of a coffee shop around 5 a.m. on Jan. 12, 2011, and stole an idling snowplow that was parked nearby, according to witnesses.
Kachkar drove the snowplow into several parked taxis and a high-end car dealership, before making a sudden U-turn and driving toward oncoming traffic.
Russell had gotten out of his police vehicle and stood next to it, firing three shots at the snowplow to stop it from injuring bystanders. The snowplow drove forward, hitting the police cruiser, and knocking Russell into the ground.
"The plow just keeps coming toward him. [As he falls backward], the truck just keeps coming steady and hits him in the head," witness Herculano Pereira testified, adding that the snowplow never slowed down as it hit Russell.
Pereira added that if Russell fell differently, he might not have sustained the head injury from the blade that likely caused his death.
Hamid Azarbani, another witness, said Russell was dragged along the roadway for a short distance.
"I saw half of [Sgt. Russell’s] body, almost; it was struggling on the ground. His feet were shaking and all of a sudden he stops," Azarbani said.
Sgt. Sarah Andrews arrived at the scene minutes after Russell was struck. She placed her hand over his heart and attempted to revive him.
"I took his left hand and I held it. I could feel his wedding ring and I just kept talking to him, telling him that he had to fight, and to hold on," Andrews told the Canadian Superior Court jury, the National Post
Kachkar has been charged with first-degree murder.
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