The man accused of killing a Kamloops teenager in a 2016 hit-and-run crash on a residential street near her family’s Aberdeen home is expected to agree to a plea deal, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has been told — something the teen’s father said would be “a great relief.”
Jason Gourlay, 43, is charged with failure to stop at the scene of an accident and attempting to obstruct justice in connection with the death of Jennifer Gatey, a South Kamloops secondary student one day shy of her 17th birthday.
Gatey died on Nov. 4, 2016, after being struck by a vehicle on Pacific Way south of Aberdeen Drive, just behind her family’s home. She was walking to catch a bus to the Tournament Capital Centre for a workout.
A Jeep belonging to Gourlay was identified early in the investigation as potentially having been involved in the incident. The vehicle was seized four days after the crash and has been in the care of police since.
In court on Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Neil Flanagan said he and defence lawyer Jeremy Jensen are very close to an agreement for a guilty plea, but are still ironing out the details.
“My friend and I have been engaged in resolution discussions for several weeks and we are both, I think, as confident as we can be that this matter is going to be resolved,” Flanagan said, noting he expects “certainty” by the end of the week.
Cameron Gatey, Jennifer’s father, said the family is looking forward to closure — hopefully sooner than later.
“If there is in fact a guilty plea deal, it will be a great relief to our family,” he said. “It’s been a terribly troubling 18 months and one of the issues has been the fact no one has taken responsibility for the situation that has been created. To know that someone may be admitting guilt would bring some resolution.”
Gatey said he has been “dreading” the thought of sitting through Gourlay’s potential trial.
“It disturbs me greatly,” he said. “If it’s resolved with a conclusion where someone admits guilt, that would be a relief.”
Lawyers will return to court Friday to update B.C. Supreme Court Justice Dev Dley on their progress.
If a deal is not reached, a voir dire dealing with the admissibility of the Jeep as evidence is slated to begin later this month.