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Paramedic testifies Natsis reeked of booze

Pembroke dentist Dr. Christy Natsis exits the Ottawa Courthouse with her lawyer Michael Edelson following the first day of her trial for impaired driving causing death, Tuesday. For more community photos please visit our website photo gallery at www.thedailyobserver.ca.

Pembroke dentist Dr. Christy Natsis exits the Ottawa Courthouse with her lawyer Michael Edelson following the first day of her trial for impaired driving causing death, Tuesday. For more community photos please visit our website photo gallery at www.thedailyobserver.ca.

OTTAWA - 

An unco-operative Christy Natsis was unsteady on her feet, reeked of booze and wanted to go to the hospital because she was "feeling stressed out" after a deadly crash on Hwy. 17 last March.

Meanwhile, Bryan Casey was so badly hurt his heart stopped in the back of paramedic Brock Smith's ambulance as he desperately sped to the Ottawa trauma centre, where Casey later died.

Casey did not smell like alcohol, Smith said, although defence lawyer Michael Edelson put to him that "he had a considerable amount of alcohol on board."

Pembroke dentist Natsis - who has pleaded not guilty - is on trial accused of killing Casey while driving drunk.

Smith testified Wednesday that a handcuffed Natsis initially refused medical care, insisting she was unhurt but for a small abrasion on her leg that didn't even need a bandage. She later asked to go to the hospital, though Smith saw no reason for it.

Smith said he had to hold Natsis up as they walked 40 to 60 feet from an OPP cruiser to his ambulance.

"She was so unstable I was concerned she was going to fall over," Smith said.

He could smell "a very powerful odour of alcohol around her" that was so strong paramedics turned on a fan that replaced the air in the ambulance three times a minute and could still smell the booze.

Natsis asked Smith why they weren't leaving for the hospital and Smith explained that his partner was helping the other patient, who was critical and still trapped in his truck.

"I think I might have said he was fighting for his life," Smith said. "That might have been when she said 'I want a lawyer' but she didn't say very much. She just looked away and didn't ask anything about him."

Once at the hospital in Arnprior, Smith testified he helped doctors try to stabilize Casey as he bled out internally from injuries related to a broken pelvis. Medical staff pushed blood and fluids into him to give his heart something to pump.

"He was 'going down the drain' is the term we use," Smith said, adding that surgery was the only hope to save Casey's life.

He then drove the ambulance to Ottawa at speeds of up to 160 km/h - despite a policy not to go faster than 140.

"The doctor was yelling at me out the window - go faster, go faster," Smith recalled. "I was holding the gas pedal down as hard as I could."

Casey's heart stopped in the ambulance but the doctor was able to revive him. He later died at the Civic campus of the Ottawa Hospital.

The trial continues.

megan.gillis@sunmedia.ca


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