A Bowser man charged with the 2014 fatal hit and run of a Courtenay father of two has been found not guilty.
Timothy Prad was arrested in connection with the death of Paul Bally, who was killed after he was struck by a truck while cycling on Highway 19A in Fanny Bay on Dec. 15, 2014. He was wearing reflectors and had lights on.
Two days after his death, Bally’s wife, Evelyn, flanked by her son Desmond and daughter Calixa, made a tearful plea for the driver to turn himself in. Comox Valley RCMP acted on tips from the public to seize a 2003 Ford F350, which led to Prad’s arrest.
The 57-year-old man was charged with dangerous driving causing death and leaving the scene of an accident knowing bodily harm had occurred, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Courtenay provincial court Judge Peter Doherty ruled on Friday that Prad honestly did not realize he had hit a cyclist and he did not leave the scene to avoid arrest.
During the trial, Prad testified he thought he had hit a deer, as he had struck two deer in the weeks before the crash.
Evelyn Bally went out to look for her husband that night after he did not return home from his regular ride along the Old Island Highway.
She found Bally, 48, lying in a ditch more than four hours after he had gone out.
He was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Bally was a popular French teacher at Lake Trail Middle School and volunteered with the Fanny Bay Fire department.