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Morgan Pardy tells court she asked Joshua Steele-Young several times to let her out of the car
It was an emotional start to the trial for Joshua Steele-Young Monday morning at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s as the woman who was in his car when it crashed a year and a half ago was wheeled into the courtroom.
Morgan Pardy — who was left paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the crash that happened on Pitts Memorial Drive on March 20, 2017 – was the first to testify.
The young woman broke down crying several times recalling that snowy day, when the Honda Civic Steele-Young was reportedly driving rolled multiple times after he lost control.
Pardy, who was ejected from the vehicle during the crash, told the court that she and Steele-Young had been in a heated argument during the drive and she had taken off her seatbelt minutes before the crash.
“I just wanted to get out of the car,” she said. “I just wanted to get out.”
She then sobbed uncontrollably as she was consoled by her mother, who sat next to her as she testified.
Pardy was so distraught, Justice Frances Knickle suggested they take a short break in proceedings to allow her to compose herself.
Pardy testified that she and Steele-Young had been dating, but had broken up the week before.
The night before the crash, she said, she had been at her friend’s house in Paradise and Steele-Young was trying to contact her via her friend’s phone, since her phone was broken. She told her friend she didn’t want to talk to him.
Pardy said she slept at a friend’s house in Conception Bay South that night, but when she woke up the next morning, she saw Steele-Young’s car pass by. From her friend’s cellphone, she texted Steele-Young and asked if it was him that she saw. He said it was and asked her if they could go for a drive and talk.
She agreed and had him follow her home so she could drop off her vehicle. She said the roads were just getting slippery at that time, with light snowfall.
When she got home, she walked up the road to the Admiralty Museum lot, where Steele-Young parked to wait for her. When asked by Crown prosecutor Jennifer Lundrigan why he parked up the road, she said, “My Mom and step-Dad really didn’t like him.”
Pardy said they stayed in the car talking for about 15 minutes before Steele-Young pulled out and drove up Old Placentia Road. As they proceeded up Richard Nolan Drive, the two argued. She said he called her a slut and whore.
She said he became really angry after the car hit a pothole on the ramp heading west onto Pitts Memorial Drive.
As the two argued, she said, he sped up and passed many cars on the highway. She said she told him that she wanted out of the car if he didn’t slow down. She said she took off her seatbelt and insisted he let her out.
“I told him to let me out of the f---ing car now ...,” she said, again breaking down in tears.
“I was screaming. I told him, I don’t want to do this anymore. We’re done.“
She said she told him several times she wanted to get out, but he kept driving, still passing cars.
“He kept going faster, changing gears ...,” said Pardy, adding that it was still snowing. “I was scared.”
Then, at one point, near the turnoff to the Trans-Canada Highway to get to Paradise, while passing a grey vehicle, she heard Steele-Young say, “F---!”
The Civic then went sideways and rolled several times.
She recalls being tossed around inside the car and then being pressed against something and then waking up in an ambulance, being asked her name and date of birth. Paramedics were cutting her clothes.
She said she was going in and out of consciousness, and remembers waking up in the intensive care unit at the hospital.
She had broken her C6 vertebrae in her spine, broken several ribs and had a punctured lung.
She spent up to five months in hospital before being transferred to the Miller Centre, where she underwent three months of physical therapy.
When asked if she has any sensation in her legs, Pardy shook her head and broke down crying again.
Steele-Young, who is not in custody, is charged with dangerous driving causing bodily harm, forcible confinement and breaching a court order. The court order breach charge was laid while he was out on bail and reportedly tried to contact Pardy. He was briefly taken into custody after that, but was again released on bail.
Pardy is scheduled to be cross-examined by Steele-Young‘s lawyer, Randy Piercey, Tuesday morning.
However, Lundrigan told Knickle that during the lunch break, an issue regarding evidence arose. Piercey said he would likely need time to review it before proceeding.