NEWS

Teen recounts tragic events of night that Const. Garrett Styles died

05/11/2015 09:46 EDT | Updated 05/11/2016 05:59 EDT
A young man accused of first-degree murder in the death of a York Regional Police officer testified in his own defence in a Newmarket, Ont., court on Monday.

Const. Garrett Styles was killed after a routine traffic stop nearly four years ago.

On Monday, a jury heard from the teenager on trial in the officer's death, who was behind the wheel of a van that the officer stopped the early-morning hours of June 28, 2011.

The accused told the court about his memories of that tragic night.

He was just 15 years old — too young to drive, but he stole his parents' minivan that night and had gone joyriding with some friends.

It was not the first time he had been stopped by police while driving his parents' vehicle without a licence.

The court heard today that he had previously been caught in January 2011, ticketed by police and grounded by his parents.

The night that Styles died, the officer had pulled over the teen for speeding on Highway 48.

When Styles returned to his cruiser, a friend had urged the teen to flee the scene. The teen told the court he thought that idea was stupid.

Styles then returned to the vehicles and informed the teens to get out of the van and that it was being impounded.

The accused begged Styles to write him a ticket, but the officer told him to get out of the van. The teen said the officer "seemed to be getting angry."

Throughout the traffic stop, the teen said the van was in drive and his foot was on the brake.

The accused said the officer then opened the door unexpectedly.

Seconds later, the van would speed away, landing in a ditch on top of Styles.

The accused will continue his testimony on Tuesday.

Watch the video to see a full report from the CBC's Trevor Dunn.

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