Ontario Provincial Police have laid charges against three transport truck drivers in connection with a trio of deadly highway crashes that occurred over the span of a week this past summer.
The collisions occurred on Highway 48 in the Town of Georgina on July 27, Highway 401 near Chatham-Kent on July 30 and Highway 401 near Port Hope on Aug. 3.
In each of the collisions, OPP say that the drivers of the transport trucks failed to slow down for traffic that was either stopped or barely moving due to construction or a collision ahead.
Those transport trucks then slammed into traffic, causing deadly chain reactions. All told, the three collisions claimed the lives of six people, including a 14-year-old boy.
“Each of these incidents resulted from an inattentive commercial truck driver slamming into the line of either slow or stopped traffic. This is driver inattention at its worst and the most tragic example of the tremendous cost when a transport truck driver is not paying full attention to the road or is fatigued,” OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes said during a news conference on Thursday morning.
Hawkes said that OPP have observed a startling increase in the number of collisions involving transport trucks in recent years.
He said that while most transport truck drivers utilize the utmost caution while on the roads, a small percentage drive recklessly, putting everyone at risk.
“Many, many truck drivers are some of the safest drivers we have on the highway. It is those truck drivers that are driving inattentively and are distracted drivers (that are a danger) and they are driving in essence a time bomb that is traveling down the highway,” he said. “Those are the guys that we need to get.”
Family members speak out
Family members of the victims were in attendance at the news conference as Hawkes announced the charges.
The group included the parents and fiancé of 26-year-old Todd Gardiner, who was killed along with 35-year-old Michael Glazier in the crash near Port Hope
“Todd was a caring loving boy. He was our only child. When he was killed and Mike was skilled that guy not only killed them but he killed all of us,” Gardiner’s mother Pauline told CP24. “Todd will never be a father, we will never have our son get married and we will never have grandchildren. We relive that accident every single day of our lives.”
“Every day we talk to each other and say things like ‘Yesterday I went to bed thinking maybe I will wake up and it won’t have happened.’ That is the reality,” Gardiner’s fiancé Nicolle McGee added. “Every day you hope it didn’t happen and you hope that you wake up and that it hasn’t happened. That is what you have.”
So far in 2017, there have been a total of 67 fatalities as a result of 56 collisions involving transport trucks in Ontario.
The drivers charged in connection with the fatal collisions from this past summer are as follows:
- Baljinder Singh, 56, of Brampton is charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing death and two counts of causing death by criminal negligence in connection with the Aug. 3 crash.
- Manjit Parmarm, 54, of Brampton, is charged with two counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and three counts dangerous of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm in connection with the July 30 crash.
- Jatheeson Krishnamoorthy, 31, of Scarborough, is charged with two counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, two counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm and one count of dangerous driving in connection with the July 27 crash.