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Trial begins for Sask. man whose sons, girlfriend died in Highway 16 crash

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Trial begins for Sask. man whose sons, girlfriend died in Highway 16 crash
WATCH ABOVE: Nearly three years after a fatal crash outside Saskatoon, the trial has started for one of the driver’s, Robert Major, who lost two sons and his girlfriend in the crash. – Jan 14, 2019

Robert Major lost three loved ones in a crash the Crown said was “not an accident,” a jury heard Monday on Day 1 of his trial.

Around 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 22, 2016, Major’s Dodge Ram was carrying seven people when it crossed two lines and a median before colliding with a semi truck carrying vehicles near Langham, Sask., west of Saskatoon.

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Major faces three counts each of dangerous driving causing death, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and criminal negligence causing death.

Major’s girlfriend, 26-year-old Kimberly Oliverio, died in the crash, along with two of his sons: nine-year-old Theodore Cardinal and four-year-old Brenden Major.

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Two other boys and a man from the pickup survived the collision.

In his opening statement, Crown prosecutor Michael Pilon argued Major was travelling more than 55 kilometres per hour above the speed limit and using his cell phone as he travelled northbound on a grid road approaching Highway 16.

None of the occupants were wearing seat belts, and the four-year-old boy was on Oliverio’s lap in the passenger seat, Pilon told the jury.

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“This was not an accident. This was the result of a series of actions and omissions,” Pilon said, giving an overview of the Crown’s evidence.

A stop sign that was knocked over at the intersection of the grid road and the highway played a “small role” in the crash, added the Crown.

According to an agreed statement of facts, the truck was “torn in half” and stuck between the semi truck and its trailer.

Removing the occupants of the Dodge Ram took roughly three hours.

The first Crown witness, Shane Larner, testified to seeing the headlights of a northbound vehicle approaching the highway and suspecting it wouldn’t stop.

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“Typically, there’s no one coming off those roads,” he told the court.

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Larner estimated the vehicle was travelling 100 km/h and said he didn’t see brake lights before Major’s vehicle crossed the highway.

He described the pavement in his lane as clean and dry. Larner said there was no snow or fog, only early morning darkness.

Under cross-examination, Larner told the court he wasn’t aware the stop sign had been knocked over and agreed there were three rows of trees around the grid road.

The trial resumes Wednesday and is scheduled to last two weeks.

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