Sgt. Russell snowplow murder trial begins

by | Feb 4, 2013 | News

Sgt. Ryan Russell was a 11-year member of the Toronto police force. COURTESY Toronto Police Service

COURTESY Toronto Police Service

By Doreen Dawang

The trial of a man accused of killing Toronto police Sgt. Ryan Russell with a stolen snowplow in January 2011 began Monday.

Richard Kachkar is charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of dangerous driving.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Russell, 35, died after being struck by a snowplow during an early-morning pursuit on Jan. 12, 2011.

He was struck while trying to stop Kachkar who allegedly stole a snowplow and hit several vehicles and a building.

The plow knocked off the mirror of a cab at Avenue and Davenport Road, and circled back ramming into the same taxi. The cab driver jumped out of his car and called police.

Russell was the responding officer. And within minutes of the chase, he was hit by the snowplow.

Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, said the trial is an important part of the process to ensure justice for the Russell family.

Russell left behind a wife and son after being promoted to sergeant six months before his death.

“Nothing is going to bring this guy back. Nothing is going to make it better. Nothing is going to totally heal this family, but it’s part of the process to make it a more tolerable experience,” McCormack told Humber News.

The police association is a non-profit organization that helps “protect those who protect others,” its website says.

McCormack said the trial is an example of what the police force does.

“It ultimately speaks to what we do as police officers,” he said. “It’s a series of commitments, and the challenges that we face is the ultimate sacrifice.”

Joe Couto, director of government relations and communications of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, said Russell exemplifies what the men and women who serve as police officers do in the province.

“They take on the roll of police officer knowing full well it involves sometimes great dangers onto themselves,” Couto told Humber News on Monday.  “And they do it willingly.”

Couto said his association hopes people will remember him as not only a police officer, but a human being as well.

“We hope that people will remember the man behind the badge,” Couto said.