QUEBEC CITY, Que. - A P.E.I. trucker will not be charged for a summer crash that involved 16 vehicles and killed four people on Autoroute 20 at Saint-Michel de Bellechasse, but the province's coroner'...
WRECK CHECK: Investigators on the scene of the crash.
QUEBEC CITY, Que. – A P.E.I. trucker will not be charged for a summer crash that involved 16 vehicles and killed four people on Autoroute 20 at Saint-Michel de Bellechasse, but the province’s coroner’s office has called for a public inquest into the accident.
Jason Fisher, 21, maintained that he didn’t notice that road construction was slowing traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway east of Quebec City before his truck, loaded with liquid asphalt, plowed into it on July 24.
“The hearing should begin in May,” says Francois Houle, a media spokesman for the Coroner’s Office.
Plans for the inquest had to be put on hold until the provincial prosecutor announced it wouldn’t lay charges against the Bulk Carriers driver, Houle adds. “Criminal law has priority.”
The accident site was situated after a long curve that obscured the view of the road ahead. And the prosecutor’s office decided that a lack of experience in stopping quickly was not the basis for a charge of criminal negligence.
While Fisher had noticed signs warning of roadwork in the upcoming five kilometres, he continued to travel at 110 km-h because traffic wasn’t congested at that point.
The accident, one of the province’s worst in recent memory, led to calls for such things as split speed limits and new training requirements for truckers. Quebec Transport Minister Guy Chevrette mused about the idea of reducing truck speed limits to 90 km-h, although ministry officials say it isn’t likely.
And while government officials wondered about the need for more training, a 1998 assessment of the industry by Camo-route found that 82 per cent of the province’s drivers have no formal training. n
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