Semi experienced 'huge deceleration' in impact, Major trial hears
An expert who analyzed the data from the black box of the semi that was involved in a deadly crash near Langham almost three years ago took the stand Wednesday.
The testimony is part of Robert Major’s trial. Major was driving his pickup truck when it crashed into a semi in February 2016.
Paul James, regional maintenance manager for Jack Cooper Transport, told court that when the pickup T-boned the semi, the impact was powerful enough to make the transport truck decelerate to 74 kilometres per hour from about 93 kilometres per hour almost instantly.
“That’s a huge deceleration,” James said. “It shows a massive amount of impact.”
James added the semi came to a complete stop in just eight seconds.
Major was carrying six passengers in his pickup at the time of the crash; his girlfriend and two of his sons, aged four and nine, died.
Major faces a total of 12 charges including dangerous driving causing death.
Stationed in Edmonton, James was called to the crash site and captured photos of the crash which were shown in court.
The photos show Major’s vehicle in pieces, the box of the truck cut from the main cab. Another photo shows the engine assembly of the accused’s vehicle resting on the side of the highway.
“It has been ripped cleanly out,” James said.
According to the agreed statement of facts, Major’s truck was carrying six passengers. Three people were pronounced dead at the scene including Major’s 26-year-old girlfriend Kimberly Oliverio, and two of his sons: Brendan Major, four, and Theodore Grindon-Cardinal, nine.
Major’s coworker, nephew and other son were taken to hospital with serious injuries.
The statement of facts said Major’s truck had been torn in half upon collision and was stuck, wedged between the semi and the trailer, four to five feet off the ground.
The impact of the collision caused upper vehicles on the double-decker trailer to be partially knocked off, with one of them landing directly on top of the roof of Major’s truck.
His truck was crushed and so compressed on all sides that the floor tunnel was significantly displaced upwards into the passenger compartment. As a result only one rescuer could enter the truck cab.
Const. Gary Pepin, the first officer on scene at the crash, also testified.
Court saw a video he recorded as he drove northbound on Grid Road 3083 towards Highway 16, the same route Major would have taken the morning of the crash.
Pepin told court he noticed the stop sign on 3083 was knocked over the day of the crash – but in his video the stop sign was back up.
He testified he tried to take the video in the same conditions as when the crash happened, in winter and early in the morning.