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Trial hears emotional testimony about when Alliston worker was struck and killed

Co-worker tried to warn him but "it was too late"

Town of Alliston employee Jane Fuller wept on the witness stand Tuesday as she recounted the moment when her colleague Geoff Gaston was killed.

Fuller and Gaston were painting parking lines on Victoria Street in downtown Alliston around 3 a.m. on June 20, 2014 when they were struck by a vehicle.

"I was getting ready to put down a cone and I got hit from behind," Fuller testified through tears. 

"I remember taking a step after I got hit and turned to warn Geoff but it was too late. He'd already been hit. And I seen him laying on the ground."

Gaston, a married father and volunteer firefighter, was pushing a paint machine when he was struck.  

He was vital signs absent when paramedics arrived and airlifted to Toronto where he died of blunt force trauma with major head and neck injuries.  

Marcello Fracassi of Alliston was arrested a short time later at his home.

An agreed statement of facts entered in court states that Fracassi's blood alcohol level registered well over the legal limit at 175 milligrams.

He has pleaded not guilty at trial to seven charges including impaired driving, failing to remain at the scene of an accident and dangerous driving causing death.

According to published reports, Fracassi's lawyer intends to argue that on the night of the collision Fracassi was "sleep driving" and has a documented history of sleep disorders.

Under questioning from crown attorney Mary Anne Alexander, Fuller testified the motor on the paint machine is not as loud as a generator but she didn't hear or see the vehicle that hit them. 

She told court they were wearing reflective clothing issued by the town and had placed a "men at work" sign about 98 metres from where the incident occurred. 

Under cross examination by defence lawyer Jim Fleming, Fuller testified that both she and Gaston were working in a live lane of traffic.

Fleming suggested the crew members didn't follow training by failing to place more warning signs on the road and by not activating the flashing amber lights on their trucks. 

The defence lawyer also suggested a third crew member nearby could have been a "spotter" if Fuller and Gaston had waited for him to arrive.

The second witness at trial was Fracassi friend Kyle Conway who testified they had driven to a concert in Toronto that night and later to a strip club in Vaughan.

Conway told court that he talked to Fracassi about that evening after Fracassi was released on bail.

"He said he didn't remember anything after the concert," Conway testified.

Court heard that Conway has known the accused for 15 years after meeting in high school and had even lived with him briefly. 

Conway said he did not recall any strange or odd behaviour from Fracassi and did not recall ever seeing the accused sleep walk.

Gaston's widow Tanya wept during Fuller's testimony and left the court room when the crown displayed the work clothes Gaston was wearing he was hit.

The trial is being heard by judge alone before Justice Boswell. 





Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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