After 3-year legal battle, Lethbridge man found not guilty in front-end loader fatality
Scott Erickson was found not guilty of dangerous driving causing death Friday in a 2015 crash involving a front-end loader and a van.
In November 2015, the city employee was operating the front-end loader to remove snow along the median of Whoop-Up Drive when a minivan collided with his vehicle. The driver of the van, 72-year-old Alan Johnston, was killed.
Erickson’s trial began in March. It examined several factors that could have influenced the crash, including a lack of safety equipment, sun glare and unsafe driving patterns.
However, Erickson had stated he was following city snow removal procedures and some co-workers agreed with his sentiment.
In delivering his verdict, the judge told the court that although he believes sun glare may have been an issue, the vehicle was being operated appropriately in accordance with maintenance vehicle regulations.
He also said he doesn’t believe Erickson was operating the vehicle in a dangerous manner that warranted a criminal conviction.
“Throughout, he felt that he was doing his job as safely as he could and he was very conscious about the public,” defence lawyer Balfour Der said.
“It was unfortunate that he was charged. It was more unfortunate that there was an accident at all, but I’m pleased for him and I’m pleased that he was found not guilty because I truly didn’t believe that there had been a crime committed here.”
Der says his client is relieved following Friday’s verdict but also feels horribly for Johnston’s family, adding the events of Nov. 13, 2015 continue to weigh heavily on Erickson.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.