Oct. 17 will be a day Newmarket resident Michael Wasylenky will never forget. It’s the day he saw his life flash before his eyes.
Wasylenky was driving to Port Perry to take a singing lesson when he says two dump trucks zoomed by in the opposite lanes on Highway 48 near Davis Drive in Whitchurch-Stouffville.
“I saw something flash in front of my windshield, and it was a split second and then this piece of concrete came through the windshield, hit my hand, bounced around on that dash,” Wasylenky said. His hand is now healed, but he’s lucky he didn’t sustain any more damage than some bumps and bruises.
“I was covered in glass, the entire car was covered with glass right up to the back hatch door.”
The three-pound piece of concrete, which Wasylenky believes flew out of the bucket of one of the passing trucks, destroyed various interior components of his car, but luckily, not him.
“It could’ve been a fatality,” he said.
“If I’d been hit in the face and knocked out … I could’ve gone off the road … We could be looking at two write-offs. Myself and the car.”
York Regional Police said they don’t see incidents of that severity often, but Const. Greg Castle of the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Unit said they, and officers in other GTA regions, see overloaded trucks on the road frequently. He blames lack of training, laziness, and in some cases, greed.
“Time is money in certain industries,” Castle said.
“If they can get that extra scoop of dirt into, say a dump truck, over a period of so many dump trucks, they are going to save time and money,” he said. “Unfortunately, they could be overloading that dump truck, exceeding certain manufacturer ratings, and make that dump truck unsafe.”
Legally, there has to be some buffer space between the top of the load and the top of a truck’s bucket. Not doing so and getting caught could lead to fines or charges, which become even more significant in cases where a load is lost and damage results.
“Thousands of dollars in fines; driver’s license suspension; possibly time in jail,” Castle said.
“If somebody is injured, seriously injured or killed … there could be actual criminal charges.”
Michael’s insurance is covering the damage to his car. He’s not sure the driver will ever be found, but he’s telling his story because he wants to create awareness of the problem.
He’s lucky to have escaped with his life, but worries that the next victim might not.
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