A passenger testifies that the driver of the moving truck was asleep at the wheel before the fatal accident near Morley

Transportation company employee Eldon Maitoyasheng testified Monday that he woke up from a slumber to find the five-ton truck driven by his co-worker was in the middle of a grassy area on the TransCanada Highway.

Maitwaiasheng told prosecutor Vince Pingitor that driver Christopher Bucha had also fallen asleep after being at work for more than 24 hours.

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Busha, 52, faces eight charges, including two each of criminal negligence causing death in connection with the August 11, 2021 accident west of Morley that killed Invermere couple John, 78, and Glynis Fox, 75.

Maitwaiashing testified that he and Butcha started work around 7 a.m. on August 10, and after completing work in the Lower Mainland area of ​​British Columbia, they drove to Kelowna to pick up items to be delivered in Canmore.

They also have Edmonton delivery on their schedule as employees of Two Small Men With Big Hearts, he said.

But after the Canmore mission was completed, he said he and Busha talked to dispatcher Barbara Dupuy about getting a hotel room.

“I was telling her we had been driving for a long time now and we both needed a break,” the witness said.

“She told me we had to keep picking.”

Maitwayasheng, who said he periodically fell asleep in the passenger seat, said Pucha at one point said he was fed up and started driving back to Vancouver.

But at some point he changed his mind and decided to complete the task.

The scene of the accident is shown on Highway 1 west of Calgary on August 11, 2021. Photo by Mike Drew/Postmedia

“He looked tired, tired at that time,” the witness told Pingitor.

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Tragedy struck on their second trip out of the mountains toward Calgary.

“I woke up while we were in the middle area, the grassy area. I screamed Chris’ name and tried to push him,” Maytwayasheng said.

“He woke up frightened as he tried to control the truck and headed into oncoming traffic.”

Their cube truck collided with a pickup truck and then a semi-truck.

But Maitwaiashing also said it was particularly windy in that corridor, something defense attorney Chad Haggerty questioned him about.

“When we were driving, you could hear the wind blowing against the truck, shaking it,” he said.

Haggerty also noted that when the witness gave a statement to police about a month later, he mentioned nothing about Bocha sleeping.

“I’m going to suggest to you that you didn’t tell the police…he was just awake because that’s not what happened,” Haggerty said.

“No,” said Maitwaiasheng.

The lawyer suggested that his story about Bush waking up before the accident was that he was “trying to understand why this happened?”

“Yes,” said the witness. “It happened so fast I can’t remember.”

The trial resumes on Tuesday.

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