Truck driver faces sentence Jan. 20 for major collision

A Stettler-area trucker who crashed his 15-ton vehicle into a passenger van south of Stettler in August 2008, causing a teenage girl from Castor to lose part of her leg, could face a heavy sentence after being convicted of four traffic charges.

Neil Easton, 51, will be sentenced Jan. 20 in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

Crown Prosecutor Murray McPherson told the court he would seek a significant jail term for Easton, who has 30-year’s experience as a truck driver.

He was convicted in Red Deer on Dec. 3 by Justice Jim Foster, who handed down the verdict after a three-day trial that ended about three weeks before.

Judge Foster found that Easton was guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm to four people on Aug. 3, 2008 on Highway 56 at the intersection of Range Road 36-0 about 30 kilometers south of Stettler.

“On the whole of the evidence and in all the circumstances, I find that the accused Easton was driving in a manner that is ‘dangerous to the public having regard to all the circumstances including the nature, condition and use of the place at which the motor vehicle is being operated and the amount of traffic that at the time is or might reasonably be expected to be at that place’,” said Judge Foster.

“I find that the accused Easton’s conduct amounted to a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in that situation,” said Judge Foster.

“A reasonably prudent driver in similar circumstances ought to have been aware of the risk and the danger involved in the conduct of the accused Easton.”

Four people were injured in the minivan.

A 15-year-old girl from the Castor area was the most seriously injured when part of her leg had to be amputated, along with other injuries such as a broken pelvis.

A 13-year-old girl and 37-year-old women were also injured.

Six victim-impact statements are expected to be included in the sentencing.

The judge concluded that Easton rolled through a stop sign and entered the intersection at between 20 to 40 kilometers per hour traveling westbound in his truck with a full load of oil and water.

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