A Canadian truckdriver
accused of causing his rig to rear-end a police cruiser was acquitted
by a judge June 17 of five counts of dangerous driving, four causing
bodily harm and one causing the death of a police officer.
Ontario Superior Court
Justice John Kerr said Terry DeMerchant, of St. Agathe, Quebec,
faced "a situation that was fraught with danger" when
his semi struck a police cruiser along Highway 401 in Ontario
June 7, 2000. "There was nothing that could reasonably be
done by the accused to avoid colliding with the vehicle,"
he said. The accident killed Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Marg
Eve and seriously injured two other OPP officers and two civilians.
DeMerchant told authorities
shortly after the accident he was driving behind another truck
that suddenly weaved into the passing lane. After checking his
mirror to see if he could switch lanes, DeMerchant said he looked
up to find Eve's cruiser right in front of him.
The officers were involved
in a "high-risk" arrest of an armed robbery suspect.
Eve's cruiser was parked partly in the driving lane of the busy
highway -- as reportedly was procedure during a high-risk arrest.
DeMerchant struck the back of the cruiser, causing a chain-reaction
Chatham-Kent OPP Staff
Sgt. Doug Babbitt told news reporters he disagreed with the judge's
ruling, but said police would be willing to make changes to take-down
procedures if there is a call to do so. "Officers are going
to take a long, hard look at the way we do our business out there,"