Family of Laval crash victim knew of ‘excessively dangerous’ exit’s hazards
In the wake of Monday’s deadly crash on Highway 440 West in Laval, the public is asking the province to take proper safety measures.
The crash, involving two trucks and seven other vehicles, left four people dead and injured 15. It happened at 3:40 p.m. on Highway 440’s exit 22 for Autoroute 15, which many say is well known to be dangerous.
One of the victims was 26-year-old Robert Tanguay-Laplante. Members of his family were long familiar with the dangers of the exit.
Sebastien Girard, Tanguay-Laplante’s cousin, said there are too many cars dangerously taking the exit at the very last second.
“Everyone drives in the left lane and then cuts three lanes to get on the [Autoroute] 15,” said Girard. He said the sign for the exit on the four-lane highway is too close to the exit itself, forcing drivers to quickly cut across.
“I just lost my cousin that way. I’m in shock,” said Girard.
He said Tanguay-Laplante worked hard as a mechanic to support both he and his girlfriend who suffers from mental health issues, so she is unable to work.
“He was always there for his family,” Girard told Global News. “He was a generous guy, a good guy. He passed so young.”
Girard said Tanguay-Laplante was like a brother to him. “It’s incredibly hard to lose him from one day to the next.”
Jean-Pierre Girard, Tanguay-Laplante’s uncle, agrees that the area is unsafe for drivers.
“Exit 22 is excessively dangerous,” he said. Jean-Pierre Girard works at the Provigo grocery store nearby and said he sees accidents happen there frequently.
“Everyone cuts each other off. The exit isn’t designed well,” he said.
On Tuesday, Quebec Transport Minister François Bonnardel promised “short-term action” as he offered his condolences and applauded first responders who helped at the scene.
He agreed that the intersection was flagged as a place of risk — the scene of a dozen accidents since 2013.
One of the changes Bonnardel wants to make is extending a double line to elongate the part of the highway where motorists will be prohibited from changing lanes.
The minister said he hopes to change driver behaviour but will wait for the Sûreté du Québec’s (SQ) investigation to determine what other actions should be taken.
— With files from Global News’ Rachel Lau and Dan Spector
WATCH: (Aug. 6, 2019) 4 dead in fiery multi-vehicle collision on Highway 440, police investigating
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