Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have charged three men with dangerous driving offences in connection to the deaths of six people, including a 14-year-old boy, following three separate roadway collisions this past summer involving transport trucks.
“This series of horrific collisions is driver inattention at its worst and the most tragic reminder in recent history of the tremendous toll on the lives of innocent citizens when commercial transport truck drivers are not paying full attention to the road,” OPP commissioner Vince Hawkes said during a press conference Thursday morning.
Nicole McGee, whose fiancé Todd Gardiner of Newscastle, Ont., was killed along with his friend Michael Glazier of Guelph, Ont., following a multi-vehicle crash on Highway 401 near Port Hope on Aug. 3, said she wants the public to remember the lives tragically lost in these kinds of preventable crashes.
“We know that with everything that goes on, all that’s going to be talked about is the crime scenes,” McGee said.
“You get to see the photos and it shouldn’t be that. It should be about the people who were lost and the families who lose them because that is where it is and where it hurts.”
“So when they talk about who was killed, in those accidents, yes Mike and Todd were killed, but along with them so were we.”
A 42-year-old woman and a 14-year-old boy were killed on July 30 after police said a tractor-trailer collided with six vehicles that were stopped due to a previous motor vehicle collision on Highway 401 in Chatham Kent.
Two other men were killed on Highway 48 in the Town of Georgina on July 27 when four commercial transport vehicles and one passenger vehicle were involved in a crash.
VIDEO: Two people killed in multi-vehicle crash on Highway 401 near Port Hope
Police said at the time one of the vehicles failed to stop at a construction site which resulted in the collision.
“We are putting drivers on notice that the OPP will pursue every investigative avenue following serious collisions and hold at-fault drivers accountable to the full extent of the law,” Hawkes said.
Lynn Bevand, whose sister Karron Derbyshire was killed in a chain reaction crash while driving home on Highway 400 in Innisfil, Ont., on March, 5, 2014, said large vehicle operators should be held responsible for their actions.
“My sister’s life was cut short because of a man who cut corners, cheating on logs, have put so many lives at risk,” Bevand said.
“Karron would have been 54 years old today, but we’ll never have another birthday, another Christmas together.”
The driver in that crash, Geoff Quigley, was found guilty of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death earlier this year.
Provincial police said collisions involving transport trucks resulted in 155 deaths between 2015 and 2016.
So far this year, OPP have responded to more than 5,000 transport truck-related collisions which have claimed 67 lives.
VIDEO: 2 people dead following 6-vehicle crash in Georgina
The three men charged in relation to the three separate crashes this summer are as follows:
Baljinder Singh, 56, of Brampton
Crash incident: (Aug. 3, 2017) Highway 401 near Port Hope
Charges: two counts dangerous driving causing death, two counts causing death by criminal negligence
Manjit Parmar, 52, of Brampton
Crash incident: (July 30, 2017) Hwy. 401 near Chatham-Kent
Charges: two counts dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, three counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm
Crash incident: (July 27, 2017) Highway 48, near Town of Georgina
Charges: two counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, two counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm, one count of dangerous driving