Another six witnesses took the stand on day three of the manslaughter trial into Aaron Rushlow’s death, including the parents of the accused and a number of officers who responded to calls that night.
Shelby Zielski-Thibault’s father Gord testified that he had been at home in the hours leading up to the incident on Walmsley Place and that a drunk Collin Veley woke him up and told him to go pick up Shelby at Centennial Secondary School.
He told court Shelby was hysterical, so he didn’t ask her what had happened and instead tried to calm her down, on the ride home.
When they arrived back at the house on Linton Park, Gord says Shelby’s mother, Rhonda called police and he went back to bed, not long after officers arrived at the home.
During her testimony, Rhonda Zielski shed more light on the character of her daughter, telling court she was bi-polar with rage, taking a number of different prescribed medications and at times acted like a “spoiled brat when she didn’t get what she wants”.
She says following the incident though, Shelby didn’t seem to be in one of her bi-polar states and was “upset but calm”.
Zielski says Shelby told her Aaron Rushlow had chased her down Highway 2 from Trenton and that she had turned down Avondale Road, to avoid construction, before pulling over in that area, where she says Rushlow assaulted her.
She testified that Shelby mentioned Rushlow was hanging on the window and she was afraid, so she put the car in drive and drove away.
Zielski told the same thing to a 911 operator during a recording played in court, saying Shelby “told her she thinks something happened to him when she drove away, but she’s not sure what happened”.
Zielski noted that her daughter’s hair extensions had been pulled out and said she had “hand prints on her neck and cheek” when she walked in the door, but says she never complained about any other injuries from that night.
Constable Kyle King was one of two officers who responded to Zielski’s 911 call and while she testified that the officer was rude and yelled expletives at her and Veley, King told court any discussions were cordial.
He says he had an open conversation with Shelby, informed her that Rushlow’s injuries were quite serious and cautioned her that evidence she gives could be used in court, but she wasn’t arrested.
Zielski then gave King the keys to the Equinox and police located it in the Centennial parking lot.
Other officers that testified included Constable Matthew Coughlin, who was one of the first to the scene on Walmsley Place and told court he and his partner found Rushlow laying in the street motionless, with visible serious injuries.
He says he stayed at the scene until the forensics and traffic units arrived and his partner went with Rushlow in the ambulance, as he was rushed to Belleville General Hospital.
Forensics officer Constable Warren Easby took the stand at the end of the day and went over a number of pictures he took at the scene and of Zielski-Thibault’s vehicle, noting a number of finger prints and spittle on the driver’s side of the Equinox.
Easby told court that only one of the hand prints was positively identified as Rushlow’s and that there’s a good possibility the saliva remnants found also belonged to him.
Among the things he didn’t find, were any blood on the vehicle, or “evidence that there was a collision, or that someone had been under the vehicle”, however blood was found on parts of Rushlow’s clothing.
Among the items found inside Zielski-Thibault’s car were two bags, a tattoo kit, a baggy of what Easby believed to be marijuana and a number of other personal effects.
Constable Stephanie Bested of the criminal investigations branch showed still images from video cameras near CFB Trenton that night, which appeared to show both Zielski-Thibault’s vehicle and Rushlow’s, passing through an intersection near the base about 30 seconds apart.
Bested told court that Rushlow’s vehicle seemed to be in front of Zielski-Thibault’s at that point and that it didn’t appear he was chasing her.
Day four of the trial is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday, with the defence presenting its case.
The trial is expected to wrap up on Monday.