November 4, 2013
RCMP confirm they received warning call before fatal crash
Members of the B.C. Flagging Association are upset and want answers after the RCMP failed to respond to a warning call before a man was killed on Highway 1 in Langley, B.C.
His SUV exploded after slamming into a construction truck that was parked in the fast lane during thick fog.
“We received a call at approximately 11:12 p.m. at our operations communication centre, which was transferred by the Abbotsford police because the information indicated it was in our jurisdiction,” said Lower Mainland RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Peter Thiessen.
“At that point, it was not dispatched to the appropriate department. What we are looking into is why this didn’t happen. We are looking into what occurred and what factors precluded that call from being dispatched to the regional traffic control centre.”
Lower Mainland RCMP got a warning call from a trucker on Oct. 22 before a two vehicle collision at 3:50 a.m. killed 30-year-old Mandeep Singh Aujla of Abbotsford.
The CBC reported that a tractor trailer driver named Abaid Tariq had to swerve at the last second in his fully loaded tractor-trailer to avoid colliding with a construction vehicle.
Tariq called 911 to warn them about the possibility of a serious accident hours before Aujla was killed on the same section of Highway 1.
Tariq is reported as saying that the construction truck was parked in dense fog and without proper warning signs.
He also identified the vehicle as belonging to Jakes Construction.
“This is absolutely atrocious if you ask me, somebody needs to get their act together,” said Diane Herback, spokesperson and cofounder for the B.C. Flagging Association. “Somebody’s got to pay for this guy’s death.”
Aujla was driving an SUV, which slammed into a construction truck parked in the eastbound fast lane on Highway 1 and burst into flames, near 264th Street in Langley. The two-man crew responsible for operating the truck is employed by Chilliwack-based Jakes Construction.
They were not in the vehicle at the time of the crash and were not injured in the collision.
Jakes Construction is the primary contractor for a project that involves the construction of an eastbound truck climbing ramp between 232 and 264 streets.
“We are not going to allow this to be forgotten,” said Herback. “We are standing up for the victim that they are blaming for causing his own death for speeding.
“Maybe he could have slowed down if there was proper traffic protocol and advanced warning. We want the family to know that we are there for them and we are going to fight for this.”
The RCMP said the SUV appeared to have been going too fast for the road and weather conditions.
They said the construction vehicle’s emergency equipment was all functioning properly at the time of the incident.
In contrast, the B.C. Flagging Association is taking the position that Jakes Construction’s failure to follow established rules and regulations was the most significant factor leading up to the crash.
The Traffic Control Manual for Work on Roadways is governed by the Ministry of Transportation. It sets out traffic safety and advance warning requirements for a freeway lane closure.
More than 800 metres out from roadwork, there should be a large “Construction Ahead” sign followed by a similar sign 60 metres down the road.
After that, a sign should indicate a lane closure in 400 metres and another lane closure sign would follow it.
There is another pair of signs before a series of barrels forms a diagonal line to transition traffic into the open lane.
After the barrels is the truck with a flashing arrow sign.
Initially, the RCMP said they didn’t receive a warning call about the construction truck parked in dense fog.
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