‘Tyler dropped to the ground’: Schoolmates recall deadly fight

A fatal fight between two Chestermere schoolmates was relived in court Tuesday before friends and family, many of whom wore pins and T-shirts bearing the victim’s name.

Strathmore’s only courtroom was filled to capacity as five witnesses retold in detail how the victim, a 16-year-old Chestermere High School student, died after a blow to the head during a fight that was reportedly over a girl.

The teen accused of killing him is charged with manslaughter.

The first witness, a 17-year-old boy who was a friend of both the victim and the accused, said he joined about 75 students at James Peake Park in Chestermere on May 25, 2001, to watch the fight.

The two, who had never fought each other before, arrived at the park separately. The accused arrived first.

When the victim arrived, witnesses said he hesitated before getting out of his truck. Once he did, he was charged by the accused and punched in the temple.

“(The accused) put his weight behind it . . . and the victim dropped to the ground,” the teen told the court.

None of the witnesses or the accused can be named under the Young Offenders Act.

Once on the ground, the witnesses said the victims hands moved to his face in a bid to block further blows — three to four quick jabs to the face.

“(The accused) just got up and the victim just lay there,” the witness said.

When the accused and his friends left the park, the court heard that the victims friends rushed to his aid, pulling his limp body out of the way of departing cars, then carrying him to the flatbed of his truck.

“We just said, ‘Wake up — you have to get up,’ ” said one witness, who added mucus was coming out of the victims nose and blood from the back of his head.

Another witness told the court it appeared the victim was ill-prepared for the blow to the head. “It just didn’t look like he saw it coming,” said the witness. “He looked scared when he was down on the ground with his eyes open.”

An ambulance crew arrived about 15 minutes later.

The trial continues today, with Dr. Lloyd Denmark, Calgary’s medical examiner, and emergency response staff scheduled to testify.