Dump truck with raised box crashes at top of Skyway

scotto

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#21
Skyway crash: Blood alcohol readings ruled inadmissible in court

Hamilton Spectator
By Ken Peters


An Ontario Court Justice has thrown out a Brampton dump truck driver's high blood alcohol readings taken after his truck crashed into the Skyway Bridge.

Sukhvinder Singh Rai, 36, blew nearly three times over the legal limit more than five hours after the raised bucket of his dump truck crashed into the top of the bridge on July 31, 2014. His breathalyzer at the Burlington OPP detachment shortly after 8 p.m. on that day registered 226 and 220 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood respectively.

But because Burlington OPP officers did not seek breath tests within the three-hour limit set out in the criminal code, Ontario Court Justice Fred Campling said Monday the breath tests and their analysis were "totally illegal" and ruled them inadmissible for Rai's ongoing judge-only trial, which began March 2.

Rai has pleaded not guilty to impaired driving, driving with an illegal blood alcohol level, dangerous driving and mischief endangering life in connection with the incident.

Campling said his ruling means Rai will be acquitted of the charge of driving with an illegal blood alcohol level, and will "most probably" be acquitted of impaired driving. Campling said his ruling will likely have "some impact" on the remaining charges of dangerous driving and mischief endangering life.

The crash caused $1.2 million in damage and closed the bridge for three days.

"Here we have the unusual and, in my view, critical factor that the demands made of you (for breath tests) were a complete violation of the criminal code and totally illegal," Campling told the accused.

"In my mind the factor that dominates is the complete illegality of the police demands which violated the criminal code. Why does that dominate my thinking? If police had followed the law here they never could have obtained any breath sample from you. The police did not follow the law. They made a mistake.

"To me it would be strange, bordering on 'Alice in Wonderland' strange, and unconscionable if the police and the Crown were better off for making a mistake than if they followed the law. I rule the blood alcohol readings inadmissible," Campling told court.

Campling made his Monday ruling without hearing submissions from defence counsel David Locke.

Prosecutor Todd Norman conceded Monday that Burlington OPP made a mistake on the afternoon in question.

"A right thinking person would expect more of the police and they would consider police ultimately failed to abide by the provisions of the criminal code," Norman said.

But he added police were dealing with a "crisis" at the time and the real possibility that the crash could collapse the entire bridge and the hundreds of gridlocked vehicles stuck on the south side of the Toronto-bound lanes after the 3:35 p.m. accident.

"The context of this was a much more dramatic crime scene than normally encountered by police," Norman said, adding he believed excluding the breath readings would bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

Campling took pains to praise the conduct of the Burlington OPP and other police officers in the hours after the bridge crash.

"I will say the overall conduct of the OPP that I have heard so far in this trial in dealing with your truck crashing into the Skyway Bridge is amazingly good," he told Rai.

The judge said he believed the OPP officers who have testified, namely Det. Bruce Powell, Constables Andrew Halliday and Hermano Clerigo and Burlington detachment commander Insp. Douglas Fenske, were professional and honest.

Halliday testified he only considered a test at 7:10 p.m. when he detected an odour of alcohol coming from the back of his cruiser where Rai was sitting. Unable to locate a roadside screening device, he made the two-minute drive to the detachment to have Rai complete the test in the detachment parking lot just after 7:30 p.m. Clerigo subsequently administered the breathalyzer tests which resulted in the high readings.

Campling said he believed Halliday and Clerigo made a mistake by not conducting the breath tests within the three-hour window.

"Nobody is perfect. They were dealing with a totally different situation from what they were used to."

Halliday told court he was a "glorified babysitter" as he sat with Rai in his cruiser for hours after the crash.

The trial continues Tuesday.



kpeters@thespec.com

905-526-3388


http://www.thespec.com/news-story/6...alcohol-readings-ruled-inadmissible-in-court/
 

scotto

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#22
Skyway crash truck driver acquitted on impaired charges

Hamilton Spectator
By Ken Peters


An Ontario Court Justice has formally acquitted a Brampton dump truck driver of two charges relating to the Skyway Bridge crash.

Judge Fred Campling acquitted Sukhvinder Singh Rai of driving with an illegal blood alcohol level and impaired driving in connection with the July 31, 2014 crash.

Rai has pled not guilty to the remaining two charges of dangerous driving and mischief endangering life.

Campling ruled Monday that Rai's blood alcohol reading on the afternoon of the crash, readings that were nearly three times over the legal limit, were inadmissible because they were taken outside the three hour window as outlined in the Criminal Code.

Without the readings prosecutor Todd Norman told court Wednesday there was not a reasonable prospect of conviction on the alcohol charges, prompting Campling to acquit on those two charges.

The Crown completed its case Tuesday.

The defence is expected to close its case Wednesday.

Campling hinted that he expects to deliver his verdict on the remaining charges next week.



Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/news-story/6393206-skyway-crash-truck-driver-acquitted-on-impaired-charges/
 

scotto

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#24
It's crazy how easily the case can be thrown out on a technicality. There should be some kind of "common sense" clause applicable in those cases.
He should of been given a roadside test, but he told the police many times that he wasn't drinking and for some reason they believed him. Not often someone tries to take out a bridge in that manner.
 

scotto

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#25
Crown seeks a year in jail for Skyway crash trucker

Hamilton Spectator
By Steve Arnold


Final sentencing for the trucker who drove into the Skyway Bridge superstructure in 2014, plunging the area into days of traffic chaos has been put over to July 18.

In March Sukhvinder Singh Rai was convicted of careless driving in the incident.

Sentencing was scheduled for Monday, but was put off to give one person injured in the accident a chance to prove his claim for $25,000 in last wages.

Prosecutor Todd Norman asked for a sentence of a year in jail and a three-year driving ban. Defence lawyer David Locke suggested house arrest, arguing media attention, Rai's wife's move for divorce and time spent in hospital for depression have been punishment enough.

"The impact of all of this on Mr. Rai has been truly significant," he said. "He's not a Mafiosi and I'm not sure why all this had to happen to him."

He added Rai has been under a driving ban since 2014 when the accident happened. That, coupled with whatever extra years Judge Fred Campling imposes, will be a heavy sanction.

Rai slammed his truck into the bridge July 31, 2014. He had been driving a dump truck for less than three months at the time of the incident.

He was convicted of dangerous driving, but acquitted of the more serious charge of mischief endangering life and impaired driving.

He was acquitted of impaired driving because of errors by the Ontario Provincial Police in taking a breath sample. The judge ruled that it took too long for the sample to be collected and that the evidence was not admissible.

Watch thespec.com for update.



sarnold@thespec.com

905-526-3496 | @arnoldatTheSpec
http://www.thespec.com/news-story/6709313-crown-seeks-a-year-in-jail-for-skyway-crash-trucker/
 

scotto

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#27
‘Shocking and frightening:' Burlington Skyway crash driver jailed a year

He is getting one year. IMO he should have gotten longer.
And he wants to appeal;


Judge hands Rai jail term, driving ban
Hamilton Spectator
By Teviah Moro


The driver of a dump truck whose raised box slammed into the James N. Allan Burlington Bay Skyway two summers ago has been sentenced to one year in jail for dangerous driving.

But Sukhvinder Rai is "seriously considering" an appeal, David Locke, his lawyer, said shortly after his client's sentencing Monday.

Justice Fred Campling called Rai's failure to lower the box of his truck before driving on the QEW "shocking and frightening."

Rai was driving back from the Triple M Metal scrap yard on Parkdale Avenue North to Peel Transport in Brampton when the box slammed into an overhead truss and scaffolding on the Skyway on July 31, 2014.

He'd been driving a dump truck for less than three months.

The collision sent three motorists to hospital with minor injuries, caused $1.2 million in damage to the bridge and snarled traffic during the Civic Holiday weekend.

But the fallout could have been much worse, Campling said.

"Obviously, it hit the first bridge that it could and we are lucky nobody was seriously hurt or killed as a result."

Campling didn't accept Locke's argument that Rai was disadvantaged by outmoded safety mechanisms on his truck.

That's like a driver who backs up over a child blaming the car for not having a camera, he said. "Oh, it's not my fault. I didn't have a backup camera."

Rai was the operator of the truck and should have taken care with the box, Campling said.

"And you grossly failed to do that."

Campling noted the maximum sentence for dangerous driving is five years. Deputy Crown Todd Norman sought one year while Locke asked for a conditional sentence.

The judge, who opted for one year behind bars, also banned the 36-year-old Brampton man from driving for three years.

Rai must pay a $200 victim surcharge, as well.

Neatly dressed in a light-blue collared shirt and dark slacks, he declined to say anything through a Punjabi interpreter upon sentencing.

Handcuffed, Rai was led out of the courtroom through a side door by a bailiff.

The judge-only trial, which began on March 2, unfolded with more than one twist.

Rai was acquitted of mischief endangering life because the prosecution hadn't proven beyond a reasonable doubt he'd deliberately driven into the bridge.

Breath samples were also ruled inadmissible because Burlington OPP took them outside the three-hour window stipulated by the Criminal Code.

That torpedoed drunk-driving charges.

But Monday, Campling noted Rai was convicted of impaired driving in 2008.

And, although the breath test was scuttled, he would consider that an OPP officer smelled booze on Rai as he sat in the cruiser, and that a bottle with alcohol in it was found beside his driver's seat.

"It's my view that you are a continuing danger on the road," the judge told Rai, rejecting Locke's bid for a conditional sentence that could have involved community service.

Campling agreed with Locke that the criminal proceeding wasn't the appropriate setting to decide how much restitution, if at all, Rai ought to pay victims of the crash. Some of them could still be compensated through a civil case, he noted.

Outside court, Locke said restitution is up to insurance companies to sort out and noted he knew nothing about any related civil litigation.

His client has suffered considerably, he said.

"He's going through a rough time."

Rai, who's married and has two children, has been working as a labourer in Brampton while on bail.

His client may seek an appeal, which must be launched within 30 days of sentencing.



tmoro@thespec.com

905-526-3264 | @TeviahMoro
 

scotto

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#29
If he does I don't think he will get far.
Skyway crash driver loses appeals
Dangerous driving and one-year sentence upheld in 2014 crash
News Jul 10, 2018 by Steve Buist The Hamilton Spectator


A Brampton dump truck driver who caused traffic chaos when he crashed into the Skyway Bridge four years ago has lost an appeal of his conviction and sentence.
Sukhvinder Singh Rai was appealing his dangerous driving conviction and subsequent one-year jail sentence.
On July 31, 2014, Rai was driving his dump truck on the QEW highway, apparently unaware the box was raised up.

He crashed into a truss and scaffolding, and the bridge suffered extensive damage. Three people were injured and the bridge's Toronto-bound lanes were closed for four days.
Two alcohol-related driving charges had been thrown out during Rai's original trial in 2016 even though there was evidence the driver's blood alcohol readings were nearly three times the legal limit.
The three appeal judges unanimously upheld Rai's dangerous driving conviction and sentence.
"The appellant's dangerous driving caused injuries to three people and substantial damage to a major bridge and several other vehicles," the appeal judges wrote in their decision. "As well, the appellant had a previous conviction for impaired driving. Taken together, these factors easily support the one-year sentence imposed by the trial judge."


sbuist@thespec.com
905-526-3226

https://www.thespec.com/news-story/8733801-skyway-crash-driver-loses-appeals/
 
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