Man faces new negligence charge in alleged Halifax drunk driving death
HALIFAX -- An MBA student accused of drunk driving causing the death of a well-known Halifax bottle collector is now facing an additional negligence charge.
Dennis Patterson, who is in his early 20s, was charged after Wray Hart was killed in January when he was struck and became pinned by a car in the city's south end.
"Nobody deserves to die the way he did, especially him," said Gary "Caesar" Julien, a friend of Hart, outside Halifax provincial court Wednesday.
"It's just not right, what happened."
Crown lawyer Melanie Perry told Judge Theodore Tax Wednesday that an additional charge of criminal negligence causing death had been laid. Patterson also faces charges of dangerous driving causing death and driving with a blood alcohol level over .08 causing death.
His case is scheduled to return to court June 26.
Hart, who was in his early 60s, was a fixture in downtown Halifax, where he could often be seen sitting outside the old library on Spring Garden Road or pushing a shopping cart piled high with recyclables.
His son, Anthony Wray Hart, choked back tears as he told reporters Wednesday that his father was incredibly generous and helped many people get off the street.
"I even watched him take the jacket off his own back and give it to someone else to keep them warm," said Anthony Hart, standing next to other emotional friends and family of his father. "He was always there to talk to."
Robert O'Neill said Wray Hart was a "father figure" to many in the community.
"He absorbed everything around in and relayed it in a way that gave you hope," said O'Neill, a friend of Hart's.
"Even if he couldn't spare a cigarette or he wasn't even around to speak to you, when you thought of him, it gave you a strength... He was a beacon of (empathy)."
There was an outpouring of support for Wray Hart after his death, with almost $9,000 raised through a GoFundMe campaign for his funeral arrangements.
More than 100 people gathered to remember Hart at a funeral service in February.
The GoFundMe page said Hart had been homeless for many years and often slept on a Queen Street bench, but was not homeless at the time of his death.