Tuesday marked the second day of a Quebec truck driver’s trial in connection with a 2017 crash on Highway 401 that killed four Kingston residents.
The trial is taking place this week in Superior Court at the Frontenac County Courthouse in Kingston.
Dunhill Tabanao, 39, has been charged in connection with a horrific crash that occurred in the westbound lanes of Highway 401 between Joyceville Road and Highway 15. He has pleaded not guilty to four counts of dangerous driving causing death and three counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
Assistant Crown attorney Gerard Laarhuis told court that on May 11, 2017, just after midnight, a transport truck driven by the accused crashed into the back of a Ford Focus, killing all four people inside.
The crash killed 44-year-old Christine Hanrahan and her partner, 40-year-old Pierre Courville, as well as her 25-year-old son and his friend, 21-year-old Zack MacGregor. Hanrahan’s son has been referred to in court as Michael Caird, however a woman identifying herself as Caird’s stepmother told Global News by phone that his first name is Mitchell. An obituary of Caird also refers to him as Mitchell.
Laarhuis told Superior Court that at the time of the crash, there was construction in the westbound lanes of the highway that resulted in a traffic backup almost three kilometres long and vehicles being at a near standstill.
OPP collision reconstructionist Staff Sgt. Jeremy Doolan testified that the backup and brake lights should have been visible from 900 metres away.
He also said the tractor trailer driven by Tabanao slammed into the back of the Ford Focus at almost 100 kilometres per hour.
Data from the truck’s black box showed there was no braking until after the rig hit the passenger car, court heard.
Court also heard that just seconds before the fatal crash, the driver of a Hyundai sedan situated behind the Ford saw the approaching truck and managed to turn off the highway in time, reportedly veering into the ditch and coming to rest in the tree line.
According to a statement read by the Crown, the male driver of the Hyundai told police at the scene: “I noticed the 18-wheeler still coming at high speed.”
A coroner’s report showed that all four victims in the Ford Focus died of blunt-force trauma from the severe impact and not from the resulting fire that came after the crash.
Doolan testified that the force of the collision was so violent it pushed the Ford into the back of a GardaWorld armoured truck, causing the latter vehicle to flip over.
Two employees inside the armoured vehicle were also badly injured in the crash, court heard.