Case spurred after highway tragedy comes before judge

Rosie
Rosie Gillingham
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Two years after a Department of Transportation employee was killed on the Outer Ring Road, the case made its way to provincial court in St. John’s Tuesday morning.

Defence lawyers representing three employers — charged with violating occupational health and safety regulations — told Judge Colin Flynn that while they have received the evidence in the case from the Crown, they will need more time to review it.

The case will be back in court

Oct. 9.

Mike King, a defence lawyer, is acting as an agent for the prosecution, while defence lawyers on the case are Randy Piercey (representing the province’s Department of Transportation), Linda Bishop (for the City of St. John’s) and David Eaton (for Irving Oil).

The provincial government charged all three employers following the fatal accident, which happened July 5, 2011.

The man killed was a senior engineer from the Department of Transportation’s soil lab, who was inspecting the road.

He was among a group on site discussing the issue of ruts and the potential for using alternate asphalt mixes to reduce wear and tear.

Besides the transportation worker, two other men were injured — one of them a City of St. John’s engineer.

News reports based on the RNC’s preliminary information at the time suggested an eastbound SUV was travelling behind several vehicles in the curb lane. When they suddenly slowed, the SUV driver swerved into the median lane to avoid a rear-end collision, reports said. It was suggested the driver then lost control of the vehicle and collided with the three men.

According to the RNC, the collision occurred just prior to a downpour of rain, but weather was ruled out as a contributing factor.

The tragedy spurred public debate over whether the Outer Ring Road’s design is flawed and how dangerous people feel it is to travel on. It also prompted public commentary about the safety of highway workers.

All three employers have been charged with six counts: failure to provide a safe workplace; failure to provide instruction and supervision; failure to provide necessary protective clothing and devices; failure to ensure safe procedures were followed; failure to ensure effective traffic control and failure to ensure that there were work procedures to promote the safe interaction of workers and their work environment.

On top of that, both the City of

St. John’s and the provincial government have been charged with failing to conduct their undertaking in a manner that protects other employers’ workers.

rgillingham@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelyCourt

Organizations: Department of Transportation, Irving Oil

Geographic location: Outer Ring Road

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