By Jennifer Saltman, Vancouver Sun
SURREY — A trial began in provincial court Monday for a Surrey man accused of carjacking a pregnant woman, crashing into numerous vehicles while driving dangerously and then stealing a car with an infant inside.
Edward Joseph Biwer, 26, is charged with three counts of robbery, two counts of using an imitation firearm while committing an indictable offence, one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and one count of possessing stolen property.
In his opening statement, Crown prosecutor Winston Sayson outlined the Crown’s case and a number of facts that were agreed to by the accused.
At about 12:20 p.m. on Dec. 23, 2014, Biwer drove a stolen Nissan Maxima to a Husky gas station in the 18300-block Fraser Highway in Surrey. The car had been stolen the day before from the 10600-block 140th Street.
At the station, Biwer allegedly tried to pay for gas with a US$50 bill, but the bill was rejected. Biwer abandoned the car.
It’s alleged that he then walked to a strip mall in the 18600-block Fraser Highway, where he tried to rob a woman of her car keys while armed with a gun. The woman refused and struggled with her assailant, injuring her finger. The man fled.
Sayson said that in front of a drugstore in the same block, Biwer found a Toyota pickup with the engine running. A pregnant woman was sitting in the passenger seat with her French bulldog — her husband had run inside to drop off a prescription.
Biwer, who was armed with a realistic-looking pellet handgun, jumped into the driver’s seat and drove away. The woman, who was 22 weeks pregnant, fought with Biwer as he drove through the parking lot. He hit vehicles in the lot and at one point grabbed the woman’s dog and threw it out the window, and tried to kick the woman out the passenger door.
Biwer drove out of the parking lot and headed down Fraser Highway. The woman continued to fight with Biwer, and grabbed the steering wheel, causing the car to cross the median, hit three vehicles in the oncoming lanes and then flip over on its roof.
The woman was wearing her seatbelt, but Biwer was not. He landed on the woman, and then punched and kicked her as he tried to escape from the truck. She ended up with a broken pelvis and other injuries, but she and her baby recovered.
Meanwhile a couple stopped their Ford Escape and got out to help. Biwer crawled out of the truck and jumped into the Escape, driving off with the couple’s seven-week-old infant in the back.
“The father started running after the vehicle, to no avail,” Sayson said.
The mother called 911 and police were able to track the location of the Ford using the father’s cellphone, which he had left in the vehicle.
Forty minutes after it was stolen, the Ford was found in an alley in a residential neighbourhood near 158th Street and 95A Avenue. The crying infant was inside, and had suffered a mild concussion, but was otherwise unharmed.
Sayson said police found Biwer in a known crack shack near where the vehicle was parked.
Sayson said most of the elements of the crimes are admitted, so the focus of the trial will be the accused’s intent or state of mind while committing the acts.