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Fellow officer says Harvey-Zenk didnt look drunk night of fatal WInnipeg crash


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WINNIPEG - The former partner of Derek Harvey-Zenk says the off-duty officer did not appear intoxicated shortly before the fatal crash that killed Crystal Taman in 2005.
At an inquiry into the justice system's handling of the prosecution of Harvey-Zenk, Winnipeg police Const. Jay Nolet said he attended social gatherings that night at both a restaurant and another officer's home.
Harvey-Zenk later smashed into the back of Taman's car at a red light, killing the 40-year-old woman.
Some officers and emergency responders have testified when they arrived on the crash scene they could smell alcohol on Harvey-Zenk, while others have testified they do not believe the officer was drunk.
He was convicted of dangerous driving causing death and was given a conditional sentence, meaning house arrest. Charges of impaired driving causing death, criminal negligence causing death and refusing a breathalyzer were stayed.
He is no longer a police officer.
Nolet told the inquiry he left Sgt. Sean Black's house close to 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 25 and Harvey-Zenk appeared sober then, a little more than half an hour before the crash.
"I did not observe Derek to be intoxicated at the time," said Nolet.
At Branigan's restaurant, Nolet said he saw a pint of beer in front of Harvey-Zenk but couldn't recall seeing him drink it.
At Black's house afterward, Nolet said he saw people, including Harvey-Zenk, holding glasses in their hands but didn't know if they were filled with juice, soda, alcohol or something else.
"I was not paying attention to what each person was drinking," said Nolet.
Earlier in the day, the inquiry heard from other officers who attended the social events before the crash.
Sgt. Chris Humniski, shift supervisor for Harvey-Zenk's police district, told the inquiry he worried about how the fallout from the crash would affect officers.
"I think it had implications for the entire service," said Humniski.
He approached Winnipeg police executives shortly after the crash to disclose what he knew about the events.
"In my view, I guess it wasn't a drinking party," he told the inquiry.
Under questioning from Winnipeg Police Association lawyer Keith LaBossiere, Humniski said he "wasn't happy" with how the story was conveyed in the media following the crash due to suggestions of a cover-up by police.
He told the inquiry that officers he knew told the truth about the incident. Humniski, however, said he wasn't surprised by the news coverage.
"Over the course of my time on the service, media has not been very kind in a lot of cases to the police service," he said.

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