The Box Canyon chain-up area on the Coquihalla Highway in B.C. as seen in a screenshot from a drone video published on the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Facebook page on Oct. 26, 2018. (Facebook)

The Box Canyon chain-up area on the Coquihalla Highway in B.C. as seen in a screenshot from a drone video published on the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s Facebook page on Oct. 26, 2018. (Facebook)

Truck driver facing 8 counts of criminal negligence for 2016 Coquihalla crash

Trial of Roy McCormack began Monday in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack

Whether or not a commercial truck driver properly checked his brakes on a summer day in 2016 before driving on one of the most dangerous highways in North America is in question in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack this week.

Roy D. McCormack is facing eight counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle after he was involved in a multi-vehicle collision on Highway 5 (Coquihalla Highway) on August 5, 2016.

The five-day trial began in courtroom 201 in from of Justice Peter Edelmann with the court clerk reading the charges aloud to McCormack, who was in attendance in person in the prisoner’s box.

He pleaded not guilty to all eight charges of criminal negligence and the one count of dangerous operation.

Each of the individual charges are tied to the name of the eight people injured in the serious collision on the summer day near Box Canyon on the Coquihalla.

RELATED: UPDATE: Coquihalla reopened after pileup leaves 1 dead, dozens injured

RELATED: 30 years later: Stories from the Coquihalla

Crown counsel Grant Lindsey told the court that his witness list included one RCMP officer, three people who were on the highway at the time of the accident, and two commercial vehicle experts.

“Most of what happened is not in dispute,” Lindsey told the court, adding that traffic was stopping for construction.

“He reached traffic that was either stopped or stopping. He could not stop his tractor trailer unit causing a collision that caused bodily harm to many people.”

The crux of the case will be whether or not his actions or inactions before and while driving amount to criminal negligence in the criminal code.

Crown’s first witness was Const. Peter Ostrom, an experienced RCMP officer out of the Chilliwack detachment who patrols the highways and spends considerable time on the Coquihalla.

Ostrom said he was dispatched at approximately 2:30 p.m. on August 5, 2016 to the crash scene in the Box Canyon area south of the Great Bear Snow Shed, one of the steepest places on the infamous highway.

Asked how well the Coquihalla is maintained, Ostrom said in the winter it can be hard for crews to keep up with changing conditions, but in summer it is “well-maintained.”

He arrived in the northbound lanes to the large crash scene that was in the southbound lanes to a “chaotic” situation with lots of people out of their vehicles. An ambulance was already on scene and traffic was heavily backed up because of how busy the highway is in summer months.

A witness pointed out McCormack to Ostrom and he went to talk to the truck driver.

“I asked him what happened,” Ostrom told the court. “He said he was coming down the highway, he tried to slow down and he wasn’t able to.

“He did his best not to hit people.”

Lindsey said one witness Crown hoped the court would allow to testify via video would tell the court she saw “a smoking truck” near the snow shed leading up to the location of the crash.

Another witness driving southbound at the time of the crash has some dash-cam video from the start of the collision.

The trial began Monday (Feb. 22) and was scheduled to run for five days.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
editor@theprogress.com

@TheProgress
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coquihalla Highway

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Providing seniors with tablets in order to stay connected is just one of the services offered by the Lake Country Health Planning Society. (Literacy Alliance of the Shuswap Society photo)
Support helps Lake Country society reduce COVID impacts on mental health

District grants funding to Health Planning Society

Elementary students from Vernon Christian School are looking to spread some cheer through their Carnation for Seniors campaign. (VCS - Contributed)
Vernon students spread cheer through carnations

Vernon Christian School hosting carnation campaign to bring joy to seniors in town

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

Alexa Wyatt-McCarthy, Courtney King, and Vernon North Okanagan RCMP Const. Nic Reimann, a board director for Cops for Kids, presented a new stroller and gifts Feb. 26, 2021, to a mother whose stroller was stolen in January. (RCMP)
Stolen Vernon stroller replaced in act of kindness

Fundraising efforts kickstarted by local businesswoman, backed by Vernon RCMP

A local aerial photographer's drone was stolen from his car Feb. 24. (Kyle Froud photo)
New Vernon business deflated by thieves

Aerial photographer’s drone stolen from car overnight

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here are the stories that made waves in the Okanagan-Shuswap

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

BC Housing has proposed that the emergency winter shelter at Victory Church at 352 Winnipeg Street be extended as a shelter until March 31, 2022. It was originally intended to be open until April 1, 2021. (Jesse Day - Western News)
One more year of ‘temporary’ homeless shelter in Penticton?

BC Housing has applied to extend Victory Church as a shelter for those experiencing homelessness

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read