B.C. Coroners Service’s public inquest into the death of Quesnel resident Ebony Aaron Wood, 36, got underway today (Nov. 14) in the Quesnel courtroom.
Five female and one male jurors were sworn in and charged with the duty of finding the facts leading to the death of Wood and making recommendations on how to prevent future loss of life by coroner Donita Kuzma.
The first witness was Wood’s spouse and mother of their two children, Kyla Reis, and she sobbed during her time on the stand.
Sobs could also be heard from friends and family who were there to support her.
She read from a prepared statement and called Wood a loving husband and father.
Reis talked lovingly of a special man who was talented, strong, caring and giving.
She said he loved their children dearly and the three of them would live on to honour his memory.
Asked to go back to Nov. 4 and 5, Reis said Wood had an ongoing drug battle.
“We were fighting because he was using again, so I left with the kids and I went to a friend’s place.”
She assumed Wood was using throughout the night (amphetamines, coke or crack) and he came over to the friend’s place and wanted her to take him home.
Reis says she started packing up and Wood had a bag in one hand and his son in his arms.
“He wanted the keys but I said no, and then he said he just wanted to warm up the truck. He was holding our son really hard and he was crying.”
She pulled him out of the vehicle and gave her husband a five count to get out of the truck.
She told the jury her husband was paranoid and having hallucinations of people in white masks trying to kill him.
Reis explained he threw the vehicle in reverse and sped backwards until he crashed the truck in a ditch and rolled it over on the neighbour’s lawn.
Wood got out and walked away into the woods.
She noted the people who lived in the house said he was going to be in trouble for leaving the scene of an accident.
Reis said she chose to stay and talk with the police.
While talking to an RCMP member, she could hear the chatter coming over his radio saying they found Wood and had him in custody.
“I never saw him again,” she said through a veil of tears.
Reis added she had assumed he would be fine, but then an officer told her they had just intubated Wood and he was in a coma and they were going to probably medevac him to Vancouver.
Somehow he got out of the ambulance and hit his head, she said.
“A lady from Victim Services met me and told me I should probably say good-bye.”
Wood had bad swelling around his brain and it was decided the only chance he had was to medevac him to Vancouver so a neurosurgeon could reduce the pressure.
Reis went to Vancouver in a separate plane and was met by someone from Victim Services and offered help.
She added the doctors tried everything to reduce the pressure on Wood’s brain and keep the swelling under control.
“He stabilized that night, so the medical staff said I should try to get some sleep. When I got back to the hospital the next morning, the swelling got to be too much and the doctors said he was probably brain dead.”
Reis said she waited for family to come to Vancouver from Quesnel and Prince George to say good-bye to her husband so they could take him off life support.
She noted everyone through the whole ordeal had been very nice and helpful.
“A doctor even fed my baby a bottle.”
As far as the ambulance issue goes, Reis said nobody talked to her about what happened – neither the RCMP nor the medical personnel.
She added she read the Facebook comments from people who witnessed Wood getting out of the ambulance.
Reis said she also read the Ambulance Report.
The inquest is continuing and is slated to run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the next couple of days.