A fatal collision that resulted in one fatality on Friday evening could lead to potential criminal charges, says Staff Sergeant and Detachment Commander of Strathmore RCMP Mark Wielgosz.
"Our collision analyst spent some time on the scene itself, and while the investigation is ongoing, charges are expected in this matter, particularly concerning the death of a person in one of the vehicles," Wielgosz said.
The accident occurred when one driver attempted to pass semi trucks around the area where Highway 22X turns into Highway 901. The attempted passing, unfortunately, created a head-on collision with a driver who was driving normally in the other lane.
The driver who attempted to pass is currently in stable condition at a hospital, while the one who was driving normally died as a result. Wielgosz said the driver in the hospital was able to speak with RCMP investigators Wielgosz explained what charges could come from this, but it's still too early to confirm.
"At the moment, the strongest charge we're contemplating is dangerous driving causing death. There are other charges to be considered, certainly under the traffic safety act as well. But the finality as far as the number of charges and what charges are laid will be determined as the investigation progresses and certainly in consultation with the crown prosecutor's office."
When investigating an accident like this, Wielgosz explained they are looking into all possible factors as to what caused the accident. This can range from the manner of driving, influences on driving (like alcohol), circumstances of the incident, and more.
"Other things we'd be looking for is data downloaded from the vehicles themselves, to determine the condition of the vehicle itself at the time of the condition. Whether it be speed, braking, accelerating, or decelerating. There are further mechanical inspections to be done as well to be sure that we can rule out ulterior causes for the collision itself."
In addition, Wielgosz said there are many factors to review regarding charges, "When you're pursuing criminal charges the threshold is obviously quite high, so normally in the investigation itself, it's a matter of finding the truth of the matter, all the details and factors that are at play, and certainly if there are other possible explanations that those are ruled out adequately to ensure that if we are laying charges, that we are going to see a successful prosecution."
Wielgosz added the maximum sentence for dangerous driving causing death is life imprisonment, while the minimum is a $1 000 fine. The sentencing and charges are decided by the courts, as the RCMP's job is to gather all available evidence regarding the incident. From there, the prosecution and defence will use the information provided to decide on the charges and punishment associated with it. As the investigation continues, it is possible other charges could rise.