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Trucker released after wheel-off incident

TORONTO, Ont. -- The driver of a fuel tanker that lost a set of duals yesterday morning has been released after ini...

TORONTO, Ont. — The driver of a fuel tanker that lost a set of duals yesterday morning has been released after initially being arrested for failing to remain at the scene of an accident.

Sgt. Brian Kenny of the Toronto Police Service explains the trucker pulled over as soon as he realized he had lost two wheels off the lift axle of the trailer he was pulling.

“He was in fact making his way to the police station and flagged down the first police cruiser that passed him,” he says of the misunderstanding.

Kenny’s investigation has also cleared the trucker of any liability from a pre-trip inspection point of view.

“We were satisfied that, based on the evidence at the scene, a visual inspection of the wheel would not have indicated anything was wrong,” he adds. In fact, the outer-most wheel still had all ten bolts and lug nuts in place after the incident, despite the fact the bolts had sheered, freeing the assembly from the rig.

“We discovered that seven of the bolts had previously sheered and had rusted over,” says Kenny. “The other three just let go.”

The fleet, described by police only as, “a small Newmarket fuel company with about six trucks,” may still face equipment-related charges as that portion of the investigation is ongoing.

Ontario has the most stringent penalties for truck owners unlucky enough to be caught losing a wheel. Known as absolute liability, fines start at $2,000 and can potentially range as high as $50,000. The law was enacted after two high-profile fatalities occurred in 1995 relating to two separate wheel-off incidents in the Toronto area.

The highest fine levied since the law came into effect was $15,000 with the average pegged somewhere less than $3,000.

Two victims were rushed to Sunnybrook Hospital after the events of yesterday morning and one is said to be, “in serious condition.”

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