Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Suit alleges missing stop sign led to fatal crash


The question of whether a stop sign was missing at the intersecti­on where a fatality happened near Langham last year is at the heart of a lawsuit filed by the man charged in the crash.

Robert Major is seeking $180,000 in general damages from the province. His two sons and girlfriend were killed in the crash at the intersecti­on of Highway 16 and Range Road 3083 on Feb. 22, 2016.

Major, 33, is charged with criminal negligence and dangerous driving causing the deaths of four-year-old Brenden Major, nine-yearold Theodore Cardinal and 26-year-old Kimberly Oliverio.

He pleaded not guilty and was committed to stand trial following a preliminar­y hearing in January.

His statement of claim alleges there was no stop sign at the intersecti­on when Major proceeded north and collided with a semi travelling westbound along Highway 16.

Langham’s fire chief, Bill McCombs, said the truck was going highway speed. He told the Saskatoon StarPhoeni­x the stop sign was down when he arrived at the scene and that it may have been a contributi­ng factor in the fatal crash.

McCombs said a temporary sign was installed at the intersecti­on of Range Road 3083 and the eastbound lanes of Highway 16 — located about 50 metres from where the truck and semi hit — sometime after the collision.

The province “knew or ought to have known” that the intersecti­on was unmarked at the time and “recklessly failed to maintain proper and safe signage” designatin­g the right of way for drivers approachin­g the intersecti­on, the lawsuit alleges.

The claim goes on to allege that Major’s girlfriend and sons were injured and killed as a result of the government’s negligence, which includes failing to regularly inspect and maintain the intersecti­on.

Statements of claim include allegation­s that have not been proven in court.

Major and the mother of his children are seeking $60,000 each for “grief and loss of the guidance, care and companions­hip” of their sons.

Oliverio’s parents are each entitled to $30,000 for the loss of their daughter, according to the claim.

Doug Wakabayash­i, a spokesman for the Ministry of Highway and Infrastruc­ture, said the government will not comment on matters that are before the court.

A statement of defence has not yet been filed.

In an interview shortly after the crash, Wakabayash­i said it wasn’t clear what happened to the permanent stop sign at the intersecti­on or when it was knocked down. He confirmed a temporary stop sign was put up after the collision.

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