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Witnesses testify to seeing an 'explosion of papers' the day Cow Head teen was killed walking to school

Neila Blanchard leaves the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook during a break in her trial in this file photo. Blanchard has been acquitted of the charge of dangerous driving causing the death of 17-year-old Justin Hynes in Cow Head in September 2017.
Neila Blanchard leaves the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook during a break in her trial on Tuesday. Blanchard is charged with dangerous driving causing the death of 17-year-old Justin Hynes in Cow Head in September 2017. - Diane Crocker
CORNER BROOK, N.L. —

An "explosion of papers" is what two men described seeing the morning that Justin Hynes was struck and killed by a vehicle while walking to school in Cow Head just over two years ago on Sept. 11, 2017.

The men, Andrew Keough and Bruce Payne, testified in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook on Tuesday at the trial of the woman alleged to have been driving the Honda CRV that struck the 17-year-old.

Neila Blanchard of Parsons Pond, is charged with dangerous driving causing death. 

Neila Blanchard. - SaltWire File Photo
Neila Blanchard. - SaltWire File Photo

Keough and Payne were shingling a roof and saw Justin and his mother walking on Main Street.

Joyce Hynes was to work with the men that day and when she and her son stopped at the worksite Justin, who had helped out the day before, was asked if he wanted to stay and work.

He chose to continue on to school at Long Range Academy.

Keough testified that he never saw Justin after he left the work site. 

When he noticed the CRV he said it was going faster than it should have been.

Then came the explosion of papers, the contents of Justin’s backpack.

Keough got down off the roof as quickly as he could and ran up to the accident scene.

Justin was laying there, not moving, and the papers were all over the road. “I couldn’t go up to him because I knew it wasn’t good.” 

Keough testified seeing the CRV keep driving and then backing up. He only saw Blanchard when she got out and described her as looking shocked.

Keough also said he saw tracks that he assumed were made by Blanchard’s CRV going off the road onto the shoulder and the grass near the town’s museum before the accident. 

Payne testified that while on the roof he heard the sound of a motor revving up and looked up to see who was going so fast through town. He saw the vehicle drive by the house they were working on and veer off the road as it went around a turn, “take out” a sign on the grass by the museum and then saw the explosion of a papers.

He got down from the roof and ran towards the scene. 

He could see the vehicle, further up the road, stop and then back up. 

He said when Blanchard got out she said, “I wasn’t going fast” and he replied, “yeah, you were flying.”

He said Justin was lying on the side of the road.

“I couldn’t go over to the body.”

The man’s memory of the day, especially with regards to the position of the car off the road, was questioned under cross-examination by Blanchard’s lawyer, Jim Bennett. 

The man said his memory may be less now than it was back then and even a year ago.

Bennett asked the man if he saw where Justin was why he didn’t see the car strike him. He replied when it happened it was just an explosion of papers. 

“I don’t know if the car got between my sight view of Justin or if I was just hoping that it was just his book bag I saw get hit,” he said when further pressed.

Twitter: @WS_DianeCrocker


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