Man convicted in connection with swimmer’s 1989 death faces manslaughter charge

Man jailed in hit-and-run of swimmer faces new charge

MONTREAL — A man convicted of leaving the scene in the 1989 hit-and-run death of Canadian swimming icon Victor Davis was arraigned Tuesday on a manslaughter charge in a separate case.

Glen Crossley, 46, was charged in the death of Albert Arsenault, a 70-year-old father and grandfather who passed away after an incident at a Montreal bar last September.

Crossley, who appeared by video conference, turned himself in on Monday after a relative of his informed him about a warrant for his arrest.

He did not enter a plea and is due back in court Wednesday for a bail hearing.

He was given a 10-month sentence in 1992 for leaving the scene in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Que., where Davis, a quadruple Olympic medallist, was struck by a Honda Civic driven by the then 19-year-old Crossley.

In the Arsenault case, the victim’s family said police initially called the death an accident. Daughter Rachel Arsenault said her brother continued to probe after the family began hearing rumours about what had happened.

She said the family believes Arsenault had his back to a small set of stairs and was then pushed, resulting in a head fracture and heart failure.

The deceased, according to his daughter, had fallen before but was in good shape and “built like a bull.”

“We thought he might come out of it, but the doctor came to see us and said he was brain dead,” she said in an interview, adding her father was transported to two hospitals before his death was pronounced.

“It’s really an act of stupidity. I don’t know why you would do something like that to an old man.”

The family didn’t attend the arraignment but will monitor future legal proceedings.

Montreal police said in a statement Tuesday that an autopsy and other information led investigators to determine the death was not accidental but an alleged criminal act.

Neither the prosecution nor the defence would discuss the circumstances surrounding Arsenault’s death.

Asked about Crossley’s spirits, defence lawyer Gilbert Frigon said he “feels likes a person who got arrested.”

In the events preceding Davis’s death, Crossley and two of his friends had struck up a conversation with his girlfriend and one of her friends, which angered the swimmer.

Outside the bar the men continued to argue. After a few minutes, Davis, who was standing in the middle of the street, was rammed by the car driven by Crossley.

Davis, a native of Guelph, Ont., who was a gold and silver medallist at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, was in hospital for two days before dying of brain damage in November 1989.

Crossley testified he did not stop because Davis had thrown a juice bottle at the windshield and that he thought the swimmer had then leapt out of the car’s path.

Crossley was released from jail after serving four months.

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

Canadian Press