March 17, 2017 5:54 pm
Updated: March 20, 2017 8:54 am

Class action launched for motorists stranded on Highway 13

WATCH ABOVE: Drivers who were stranded on Highway 13 during the massive blizzard in Quebec have filed a class action lawsuit, saying they were let down because of bad communication between public officials. Global's Navneet Pall reports. Editor's note: Marlene Berman told Global News that she is not represented by Jean-Marc Lacourcière. We continue to investigate this story.


–Editor’s note: This story was updated on March 19 to reflect new information obtained by Global News

Marlene Berman was one of the hundreds of motorists stranded on Highway 13 on Wednesday morning.

“It was like a catastrophe movie where everybody was just stopped, lights off, motors off,” Berman said.

But in this movie, emergency services didn’t save the day.

WATCH MORE: Highway 13 drivers launch class action suit launched 

“At one point we decided we’re gonna call 911 which they sent us to the SQ,” Berman said. “First contact with the SQ, they hang up on us and the second contact, they, the SQ, they basically told us, ‘We’ll get to you when we get to you.'”

For Berman, that was not good enough, and now she is seeking financial compensation for her trouble.

Berman is the main complainant in a class action lawsuit against the City of Montreal and the Province of Quebec.

Story continues below

At least 300 vehicles were stranded, which reportedly affected more than 500 people.

Mike Burstall, owner of Burstall Conrad Towing who was responsible for carting vehicles off highways said it was one trucker who started the whole mess.

According to Burstall, the company received a phone call from the SQ to tow the trucks between 6 and 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. He said when his employee reached the scene in about 90 minutes, he found three stalled rigs.

Two of the three tractor trailers agreed to be pulled, but a third refused.

READ MORE: SQ arrest trucker in connection with Highway 13 rescue delays

“[The driver] said, ‘Don’t touch my truck,'” Burstall said. “I’m waiting for snow plows to come here because I can get out on my own.”

The tow truck operator ended up calling the SQ to solve the conflict. However, the provincial police couldn’t reach them.

Burstall claims the SQ officer on duty improvised.

“[The officer] goes, ‘You give that guy my cellphone number and tell him to call me. I’ll tell him on the phone,” Burstall said.

However, the effort failed and the driver refused to move.

Since Wednesday morning, the SQ has relieved the officer in charge of duties, and the provincial government has launched an inquiry.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.