Accident victim was government employee: minister

Andrew Robinson
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A police cruiser blocks a lane of the Outer Ring Road Tuesday following a fatal accident. - Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram

Transportation Minister Tom Hedderson told reporters Wednesday that the man killed in a vehicle-pedestrian accident on the Outer Ring Road Tuesday afternoon was an employee from his department.

He described the accident as a “terrible shock” when he heard about it Tuesday.

“I would like to take this opportunity to extend our deepest, deepest condolences to the family, friends (and) co-workers of our valued employee.”

Hedderson said in addition to the police and Occupational Health and Safety investigations, the provincial government is conducting an internal investigation of the accident.

Meanwhile, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has ruled out the possibility of speed playing a role in the accident.

Const. Suzanne FitzGerald described the lead-up to the accident in an email to The Telegram.

“From the preliminary information the RNC have analyzed thus far, it appears as though the eastbound SUV was travelling behind several vehicles in the curb lane and when the vehicles in front of him slowed rather suddenly, the driver swerved into the median lane to avoid a rear-end collision. It was then that the driver lost control of the vehicle and collided with the three men.”

The RNC said late Wednesday the injuries sustained by the two men sent to hospital are now considered to be non-life-threatening.

A mechanical inspection by the RNC of the SUV involved in the accident is underway, and FitzGerald said while the major crime unit has already interviewed numerous drivers and witnesses, the RNC is still encouraging witnesses to contact them.

The deceased male in his 50s was represented by the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE).

“It is an extremely sad day when an employee loses his life in the service of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador,” said president Carol Furlong in a statement released Wednesday.

“All NAPE members are saddened as we reflect on the loss of a colleague.”

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, NAPE

Geographic location: Outer Ring Road, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Concerned Citizen
    July 08, 2011 - 13:47

    First of all my condolences to the English family and wishing the City employee a good recovery. Newfoundlanders are famous for tailgaiting, especially thos driving larger vehicles. Does it have something to do with power, impatience or just no regard or respect for human life. Sometimes I feel that larger vehicles can speed or tailgate whenever they want, because more than likely they're not going to get hurt if an accident happens because they're more protected in a larger vehicle. More awareness and respect for others on the road, could avoid a lot of these unnecessary and fatal accidents.

  • Rickey Bobby
    July 07, 2011 - 10:32

    Yes it seems like speed was a factor however: Was there training on how to set up lane closures? Were the pylons or barricades set-up within regulation i.e. give enough notice to the driver? This should all be documented by the companies involved...if not......I would ask WHY NOT???

  • Pat
    July 07, 2011 - 09:03

    I agree with David. Speed and appropriate distance between vehicles appears to be a major factor in this tragic accident. I can only imagine how driver of the SUV feels at this time and into the future. Perhaps everyone who has the privilege of operating any vehicle will start to understand the dangers of tailgating. This has become a huge issue when driving. I feel a campaign and signs teaching people the appropriate distance between vehicles is a necessity. Unfortunately, leaving this issue to "common sense" is not working. My heartfelt condolences to Joe English's family. I had the privilege of knowing this kind, gentle man when he was in his 20's. The world has just lost a terrific person due to careless driving!

  • Darren Ryan
    July 07, 2011 - 07:59

    Obviously "speed was a factor". If he hit a person going 2 km/h compared to 30, 50, or 90 km/h then speed is a factor and the outcome would be different. So speed obviously was a factor in this terrible accident. I am assuming when they say speed wasn't a factor, they mean the person wasn't going over the posted speed limit at the time, i.e. flying at 130 km/h or 140 km/h or something. But obviously speed/velocity/momentum/force etc. were factors or else this would not thave occured. My deepest condolensces to the family and from what I am gathering, this collision truly was an accident.

    July 07, 2011 - 07:01

    The police say that speed was not a factor in this accident and the driver lost control when he tried to avoid a collision with the vehicle in front of him and could not stop.The law says that you must leave a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you so as to be able to to avoid a collision if a sudden stop occurs.Also you drive to the road conditions at the time for the same reasons.

    • trans workers should remember
      July 07, 2011 - 08:45

      if speed was not a factor; and little or nothing comes of this tragedy; then all dept. transportation workers should remember this next time RNC or RCMP looking for assistance with highway issues and problems; and make sure they remember what happened to this employee; and take their good time when answering the call for assistance; this fellow could not stop so instead of rear ending a car; he alledgely drove into median and ran over three people; and now the police say speed was not a factor; what a joke

    • kd
      July 07, 2011 - 20:21

      If all these drivers were not tail gaiting and following the rules pretaining to speed and the proper distance from the vehicle in front of you there would be plenty of time to react to any sudden stopping on the highway but these days everyone seems like they want to hitch a ride on someones bumper even in the small town where I live dirvers continue to tailgate and to compound the problem most are using some sort of electronic device I think the time is certainly here when we need a constant police surveillance on our highways this will reduce the number of deaths from moose accidents and every thing else