Fatal pile-up in Laval in 2019 | The SAAQ “mistakenly” gave the accused trucker the license

The trucker who caused the monster pileup that killed four people on Highway 440 in Laval in 2019 was a real danger driving a heavy vehicle. Declared “permanently” unfit, Jagmeet Grewal had recovered his license thanks to an “error” by the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ).

Posted at 12:06 p.m.

Louis-Samuel Perron

Louis-Samuel Perron
The Press

“During this trial, the prosecution will show that this collision was caused by the negligence of the accused. We will demonstrate that Mr. Grewal driving a truck was dangerous, that it constitutes a marked departure from the normal conduct of a driver,” said Crown Prosecutor M.e Simon Blais in his opening statement.

The trial of the 52-year-old man opened Wednesday at the Laval courthouse in front of many relatives of the victims. Jagmeet Grewal is accused of having caused the death, through his criminal negligence, of four people, namely Gilles Marsolais, Michèle Bernier, Sylvain Pouliot, and Robert Tanguay-Laplante. He is also accused of injuring four other people.

On August 5, 2019, at the end of the afternoon, traffic was very heavy on Highway 440, near exit 22, in Laval. It was then that the truck driven by Jagmeet Grewal crashed into the vehicles stationary on the highway at almost 100 km / h. A collision of extreme violence which caused a gigantic fire.

Yet visibility, weather and road conditions were “optimal” that day. “It was a perfect summer day”, illustrated Me Simon Blais, who teams up with Me Alexis Marcotte-Bélanger for the public ministry. “No trace of braking was found”, according to Me Blais.

“Through the evidence we will demonstrate that the accused failed to pay attention to the traffic ahead, failed to pay adequate attention to the road, failed to see the slowing and stopping of traffic, ‘did not react to the traffic conditions by slowing down and did not take action to avoid the collision during the many seconds in which he could have reacted,’ claimed the prosecutor.

The Crown argues that Jagmeet Grewal had his truck driver’s license (class 1) withdrawn by the SAAQ in 2014 after being involved in a road accident which left him with physical and psychological consequences in 2012. The SAAQ had thus declared himself permanently unfit to work as a truck driver, according to the suit.

After challenging the SAAQ’s decision, Jagmeet Grewal finally agreed with the organization and in 2018 recognized his “high level of incapacity” to drive, argues the public prosecutor. He then began to receive income compensation from the SAAQ for this reason. Compensation he was still receiving at the time of the fatal accident, argues Me Blais.

“Later in 2018, the SAAQ gave him back his trucker’s license, at his request. However, we will prove that was wrong. In fact, the SAAQ still considered the accused unfit to drive a truck,” pleaded the prosecutor.

Thus, Jagmeet Grewal “lied” in his hiring form in order to be rehired as a truck driver, alleges the Crown. He then made a false claim to insurance following the fatal accident.

“In August 2019, Mr. Grewal’s health profile not only made him unfit to drive a truck, but the evidence will prove that he engaged in dishonest behavior to work as a truck driver. The evidence shows that Mr. Grewal’s general behavior deviates substantially from the conduct of a reasonable person,” concluded Mr.e Blais in his statement.

Jagmeet Grewal is defended by Me Philip Knerr.

source site-60