Charges laid in 2007 van crash in Abbotsford
The British Columbia Criminal Justice Branch has laid charges in a van crash a year ago that claimed the lives of three farm workers in Abbotsford.
Speaking outside the legislature on Monday, Attorney General Wally Oppal said a total of eight charges have been laid, four against the driver Harwinderpal Kaur Gill, and four identical charges against the van owner, RHA Enterprises Ltd.
Oppal says the charges are:
- Driving without reasonable consideration for others using the highways.
- Driving without being the holder of an approPriate licence.
- Driving a vehicle in which the seatbelt assemblies were removed or rendered inoperative or modified.
- Driving a motor vehicle that was not equipped or in compliance with Motor Vehicle Act.
The defendants are to appear in court in Abbotsford on March 27.
News that charges have been laid comes after a WorkSafeBC investigation suggested a wide range of safety violations contributed to the deadly crash that also injured 14 people.
Passenger overloading, poor tire maintenance, a lack of seatbelts, inadequate driver qualification, road conditions and vehicle instability were all factors in the accident, WorkSafeBC said in a report released Thursday.
The British Columbia Federation of Labour recently called for a ban on 15-passenger vans that are often used to transport farm workers.
The van was carrying 16 farm workers plus the driver when it crashed on Highway 1 in Abbotsford during the early hours of March 7, 2007. The workers were heading east on Highway 1 toward Chilliwack.
Amarjit Kaur Bal, Sarabjit Kaur Sidhu and Sukhwinder Kaur Punia all died.