Truck driver charged in death of animal rights activist

by Today's Trucking

BURLINGTON, Ont. – A truck driver has been charged with careless driving causing death, following a police investigation into a June 19 accident that claimed the life of animal rights activist Regan Russell.

Russell was among a group of protesters who had gathered outside Fearman’s Pork in Burlington, Ont., to “bear witness” to pigs being transported to slaughter. The recurring protests involve walking up to loaded trailers, and extending water bottles to the pigs inside.

A 28-year old truck driver from North Perth has been charged, but not publicly named by Halton Regional Police.

Regan Russell
Animal rights activist Regan Russell was killed in an accident during a protest outside Fearman’s Pork. (Photo: Toronto Pig Save)

“This investigation included the interview of several witnesses, analysis of physical evidence, and a technical reconstruction of the collision. In addition, video footage that captured the entirety of the incident was reviewed by investigators,” police said in a related statement.

“There were no grounds to indicate this was an intentional act, or that a criminal offence has been committed.”

“We are disappointed by the lack of criminal charges, and would like respect and time digesting this information,” Powell’s family said in its statement released by Animal Save Movement.

“These charges are feeble and do not amount to justice for Regan,” said movement co-founder Anita Krajnc.

The accident happened the day after Ontario’s Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act was given royal assent, as the province looks to discourage people from approaching livestock-hauling trucks and processing facilities.

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  • Careless Driving? The death knell for a commercial driver. How about we have police move these pukes out of the way. If I was walking down the middle of the road, you can be sure police would tell me to smarten up and get on the sidewalk. It doesn’t matter if these people give the animals water, food or a massage – they’re still going to the processing plant. Do they really think burning up a drivers elog is going to make them change their mind about their job?

  • This is the exact reason why we need bill 156 to come into law. I’m all for peaceful protests and it’s the protesters right to be able to do this under the Canadian charter of rights and freedom but these protestors need to be kept away from moving transport trucks. There is a lot to be watching when a driver is driving a transport there are blind spots when turning and the last thing a driver needs is for someone to run up to a truck trying to water pigs. This will happen again if something isn’t done to keep protesters away from trucks. They are so wrapped up in the cause that they don’t understand the danger. I also believe Halton police should be solely to blame for this. They need to start doing their job and being on seen to keep people from putting themselves into a dangerous situation.

    • The blame should point: to the person who is “watering” the animals in the trailer and the police who should use their brains and gets these “protesters” of the road instead of near the trucks in the middle of the traffic. I suppose the police is more concerned by giving truck drivers fines for silly reasons then maintaining the roads (including entrances to slaughterhouses) free of useless people protesting about what…?

  • While the death is tragic the protesters are carelessly putting themselves in harms way and putting the driver’s in a precarious position. At some point the protesters need to share in the responsibility of their actions and keep themselves out of harms way.

  • What right do these activists have, to destroy a man who is only trying to do the job he is hired for? The purpose of building roads Is for vehicles, not for people to block vehicles . So stay on the sidewalk, unless you are driving. So who is at fault here?

  • Absolutely agree with Norm and James’ comments. This is terrible for the poor driver. I work a half block from this site and the police continue to allow the protesters out into the streets, blocking trucks, and protesting dangerously.

    If they laid down some smaller charges on the protesters and held them to the established rules then this kind of behavior that led to this woman’s death would have been discontinued years ago. It’s the police lack of enforcement on these people that led them to continue unsafe practice up to the point of death. This was bound to happen and the blame rests on the police, and the protesters, with barely a mention of the driver who is now simply the scapegoat for police, and target of protester anger.

    Misplaced blame and anger is the rule today it seems. This charge on an innocent driver is smoke and mirrors to appease/shift blame off the two groups responsible for this event.

    Drop the charges.

  • The guy owned a w9 Kenworth long hood. Theyre the tallest in the industry even petes. Huge blind spot out front.
    Still doesnt matter the driver should not have proceeded unless checked his blind spot first.. What these protesters dont understand is the trucker usually doesnt get paid for delay and loses hours if on an ELD.