Zopkios Brake Check on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack was seen entering the brake check with smoking brakes on Aug. 5, 2016, just before a multi-vehicle crash further down the road. His criminal negligence trial runs Feb. 22 to 26, 2021 in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack. (GoogleMaps)

Zopkios Brake Check on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack was seen entering the brake check with smoking brakes on Aug. 5, 2016, just before a multi-vehicle crash further down the road. His criminal negligence trial runs Feb. 22 to 26, 2021 in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack. (GoogleMaps)

Truck driver charged in Coquihalla crash showed ‘wanton and reckless disregard for other people’s lives’: Crown

Despite already having brake issues, Roy McCormack tackled the steepest hill on the infamous highway

A truck driver who did not undertake a thorough inspection of his brakes after he saw them smoking and before he descended the steepest hill on the most dangerous highway in Canada did not live up to his obligation to his profession and to other drivers on the road.

That’s what Crown counsel Grant Lindsey told a BC Supreme Court judge in Chilliwack on the final day of the trial of truck driver Roy McCormack.

Because McCormack’s brakes predictably failed after already having brake problems on Aug. 5, 2016 near the Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla highway leading to a multi-car crash injuring eight people, Lindsey said he is guilty of criminal negligence.

“He showed a wanton and reckless disregard for other people’s lives when he took on that hill,” Lindsey told Justice Peter Edelmann on Friday (Feb. 26).

McCormack is charged with eight counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle after he was involved in the crash multi-vehicle on that clear summer day in 2016.

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

READ MORE: Truck driver charged with criminal negligence in Coquihalla crash is accused of ignoring smoking brakes

“Even in a normal brake check, he’s under a steeper obligation for a further investigation,” Lindsey said. “If he didn’t have the skills to diagnose the problem either with his tractor or his trailer, he had an obligation to contact someone who did.”

McCormack was the sole witness for the defence testifying to his actions that day. He said he picked up a trailer on the side of the road near Rogers Pass at the direction of his company at 9 a.m. He said he drove the “four or five” hours to Kamloops, then slept for four or five hours. He then took Highway 5A to Merritt, then continued on the Coquihalla.

But this timeline was put under severe scrutiny by Lindsey, since the crash happened at 2 p.m. that day so, Lindsey pointed out, the hours didn’t add up. That in addition to the fact that McCormack made a fraudulent entry in his log book was enough to ruin his credibility as a witness, Lindsey told the court.

“The honest details would have taken less time than the false entries,” Lindsey said of the log book entries he falsified. “It made zero sense to me… It boggles the mind why he would make false entries. It weighs heavily on his credibility.”

The trial for the 58-year-old Coquitlam resident began Monday (Feb. 22) and ran for five days.

Crown called a number of civilian witnesses, truck drivers and other drivers who saw McCormack’s rig on the Coquihalla that day or the accident scene, one RCMP officer, and experts on truck inspection and maintenance.

Defence counsel Philip Derksen called only McCormack for the defence. He said McCormack acted to the standards he was used to and that he was trained to do leading up until the brake failure.

McCormack testified said that soon after leaving the Zopkios Brake Check and when he was at or near the Great Bear Snowshed, he started to notice smoke coming from the rear left wheel on his trailer for the second time in just a few kilometres. Before he entered Zopkios he had notice smoke from the same location, but he said when he checked at the roadside stop, everything seemed fine.

As he lost all braking on the steep stretch of the Coquihalla, he plowed into several vehicles stopped for construction, injuring eight people, all named in the charges against him.

Regardless of his actions once out of control, the case hinges on whether McCormack’s inadequate proper pre-trip inspections alleged by the Crown amount to criminal negligence.

Justice Peter Edelmann will make his decision on guilt at a later date.

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

RELATED: 30 years later: Stories from the Coquihalla


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.

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

 

The Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack testified in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Feb. 25, 2021 that his brakes started smoking in about this location, and soon after he lost all braking, which led to a multi-vehicle crash further down the road on Aug. 5, 2016. (GoogleMaps)

The Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack testified in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Feb. 25, 2021 that his brakes started smoking in about this location, and soon after he lost all braking, which led to a multi-vehicle crash further down the road on Aug. 5, 2016. (GoogleMaps)

Just Posted

A Chilliwack Search and Rescue truck heads down Vedder Road towards Cultus Lake to assist a dirtbiker with a broken leg. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Emergency crews, SAR busy with three separate outdoor recreation incidents in Chilliwack area

Calls in 1 afternoon include ATV collision, parachuter who fell from tree, dirtbiker with broken leg

Chilliwack’s historic Royal Hotel is offering COVID-style wedding packages for two weeks in June. (Facebook/ Royal Hotel Chilliwack)
Chilliwack hotel offers pop-up, COVID-style weddings for 2 weeks this June

‘Weddings can still happen, albeit in a different fashion,’ says Laura Reid of Royal Hotel

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

A man holds a child while speaking with RCMP following an erratic driving incident on Highway 1 in Chilliwack on Friday, April 16, 2021. The child and a woman (but not this man) were in this Jeep Grand Cherokee which hit a barrier and a parked car on Highway 1 and continued driving. The vehicle finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Video image
UPDATE: Bridge traffic moving normally after high-velocity crash involving logging truck

Northbound crash occurred at approximately 2 p.m., involves 6 vehicles, north lanes shut down

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read