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Truck driver who concealed PTSD, Type 2 diabetes found guilty of causing deadly crash

Click to play video: 'Former truck driver found guilty of criminal negligence causing death in Quebec highway crash'
Former truck driver found guilty of criminal negligence causing death in Quebec highway crash
WATCH: A judge handed down a guilty verdict on Friday in the trial of a Montreal man responsible for a fiery crash that killed four people on Highway 440 in Laval back in August of 2019. A Quebec Superior Court judge said Jagmeet Grewal demonstrated a clear pattern of disregard for the life and safety of others leading up to the violent collision. The ruling found that he should have never even been at the wheel in the first place. – Feb 16, 2024

A former truck driver responsible for a fiery crash that killed four people on Highway 440 in Laval back in 2019 has been found guilty of criminal negligence causing death.

A Quebec Superior Court judge said that 57-year-old Jagmeet Grewal demonstrated a clear pattern of disregard for the life and safety of others, and that he should have never even been at the wheel of a 53-foot-truck in the first place.

Reading out her decision in front of Grewal, victims and their families, Judge Yanick Laramée said the driver was not paying attention at the wheel of his tractor trailer on the afternoon of Aug. 5, 2019. She said he was not even medically fit to drive the vehicle. The judge said the truck became “a deadly weapon,” and the consequences were “disastrous.”

In addition to the four people who died, 15 were injured, including Patricia Laplante and her two daughters.

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“One second I turned around, the next moment the car is crushed and everybody’s screaming,” Laplante told Global News.

“There were multiple factors that made the judge conclude that on the spectre of negligence, this is a case of extreme negligence,” said Crown prosecutor Simon Blais.

On a bright, sunny day, the judge said Grewal should have easily seen that traffic ahead of him was at a standstill. In the 10 seconds before the crash, however, he made no attempt to stop or swerve out of the way.

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Laramée called his driving “objectively dangerous.”

The massive truck barrelled into the unsuspecting victims at a speed between 93 and 100 km/h.

“I don’t suggest it, but imagine yourself driving with your eyes closed for 10 seconds on the highway,” Blais said.

According to the judgement, Grewal’s licence to drive a truck that size had been permanently revoked by the SAAQ in 2014 after a PTSD diagnosis related to another accident in 2012.

He also has type 2 diabetes, which he hadn’t properly addressed.

Still, he reapplied for his licence, concealing both conditions, and an SAAQ agent mistakenly gave him his licence back.

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“His blood levels were absolutely not under control at the moment of the accident, which meant that not only is the diabetes not under control, but also that he did not report this condition to the SAAQ,” Blais said. Driving with undermedicated diabetes can be extremely dangerous.

“It’s unthinkable that someone could do this,” Laplante said.

Grewal got a trucking job by lying about his health, and took PTSD drugs incompatible with driving on the day of the accident.

“Mr. Grewal had a pattern of disregard for the safety of others by taking the wheel on Aug. 5, 2019,” Blais said.

Patricia Laplante’s pelvis was broken in six places, along several other injuries.

“There’s limitations and pain every day,” she said.

Jean-Pierre Girard, the uncle of victim Robert Tanguay-Laplante, said he was “very happy” with the guilty verdict. Tanguay-Laplante was just 26 when he was killed.

Sentencing proceedings begin May 21. The maximum penalty for criminal negligence causing death is life behind bars without the possibility of parole for 25 years, though Blais said that’s unlikely.

“We should expect a serious sentence,” he said.

Grewal has been free under conditions throughout the proceedings.

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He and his family refused to comment as they left the Laval court house.

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