Canada fatal crash case focuses on scene safety


By Dianne Wood
Waterloo Region Record

WILMOT TOWNSHIP, Canada — If a fire truck had been stationed at the top of a hill to keep traffic away from an accident scene, a Good Samaritan at the bottom of the hill probably would not have died last year, a volunteer firefighter agreed yesterday.

Ashley John (A.J.) Watson was testifying at the trial of Justin Szusz, a volunteer firefighter who drove over the hill and hit a man at the accident scene on Huron Road on Sept. 2.

Szusz's lawyer, Tom Brock, asked Watson if the death could have been prevented if a fire tanker had been blocking traffic at the crest of the hill.

"Had we had time to get into place, yes, I believe that's true,'' said Watson, a captain with the Wilmot Township Fire Department.

"We were trying to get the tanker to the top of the hill. We were barely able to get set up and do our job at the time the accident happened.''

Chief Brad Otterbein had "recognized the fact there was a hazard with the hill," Watson said. "Unfortunately, by the time he made the decision, (the tanker) didn't have enough time to get there.''

Szusz, a 24-year-old New Dundee resident, is charged with criminal negligence causing death and dangerous driving causing death. He was racing to the scene of a car crash in his own car when he struck Thomas Walker, a man walking along the shoulder of the road to help a man trapped in his car after hitting a tree.

Szusz's trial was in its fifth day in Kitchener's Ontario Court. It has been adjourned to a later date.

Court has heard two fire trucks were parked on one side of Huron Road across from the accident. A third vehicle, a rescue truck, was ordered to park on the other side of the road to be closer to the victim, whose car was in a ditch.

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