TORONTO - "Crazy" is the vernacular. "Emotionally disturbed" is more politically correct.
Both seemed apt descriptions for the bizarre driver who was sticking his head out the door of a snowplow near the scene where Sgt. Ryan Russell had just been mowed down, raving about "the Taliban."
From her 13 years of experience as a paramedic in this city, Shannon Willis knew a nut bar when she saw one. And from her point of view, Richard Kachkar certainly fit the bill that morning.
But that may not be a very popular opinion.
The homeless man's mental state is central to his trial for first-degree murder and the Crown is arguing that Kachkar knew exactly what he was doing when he drove the stolen plow directly into the officer two years ago, leaving him for dead.
While it's admitted that Kachkar, 46, was driving the plow during his wild rampage through the city, he's pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and dangerous driving. The jury's been told that at issue will be his intent and "state of mind" at the time Russell was killed.
For this EMS paramedic at least, his state of mind was obvious.
It was shortly after 6:09 a.m. on Jan. 12, 2011, -9C and snowing, and she was driving her ambulance -- lights on but no siren -- along Davenport Rd. towards Avenue Rd. where shots had been fired and an officer hit by a snowplow. As she sped to the scene she came upon a plow with the driver hanging over the top of his open door, screaming at her.