EDMONTON – The wife of a man who crashed through a southwest Edmonton patio, killing a two-year-old boy told the court her husband was sober when it happened.
Gayska Suter, who has been married to Richard Suter for 44 years, took the stand during his sentencing hearing Thursday. She called him an “imperfect, yet, loving man who made a terrible mistake.”
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Gayska’s emotions flared as she took the stand, insisting her husband wasn’t drunk, but made a terrible mistake when he rammed his SUV through the patio at Ric’s Grill, killing Geo Mounsef in May 2013.
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In the weeks leading up to the deadly crash, the couple had been bickering. Gayska testified Thursday that her husband had decided to cut back on golf and booze.
But that Sunday afternoon, Gayska said the mood lightened up. They each had a couple of drinks and she sipped his vodka and orange juice to make sure it wasn’t too strong.
“I was an eagle eye,” Gayska said. “I was watching him. He was in the doghouse.”
The couple went out for dinner, but were upset with their service so instead went to Ric’s Grill. As the pair pulled up, Gayska told her husband she wanted a divorce, something she said she told Richard hundreds of times before.
On Wednesday, Richard testified those words had shocked him and his vehicle rolled forward. He said he hit the gas instead of the brake and Mounsef was pinned under the vehicle.
“It was like a war zone,” said Gayska, who was in the passenger seat. “People were so upset, yelling and screaming… calling Rick an old drunk.”
Gayska said two men dragged him across the parking lot and “kicked the hell out of him.”
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While at the police station, Richard learned Mounsef died.
The 65-year-old has pleaded guilty to failing to provide a breath sample.
Gayska apologized to Mounsef’s family in court Thursday, telling them it was an accident.
“This affected us very deeply,” she said. “The thought of one of our children dying that way is incomprehensible.”
Closing arguments in the sentencing hearing will be presented on Friday.
With files from Kendra Slugoski, Global News.