Ontario trucking company owner sentenced for his role in fatal crash

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line associate editor | 6/28/2017

The owner of a Canadian trucking company was sentenced to six months in jail for his role in a 2014 crash that killed an off-duty police officer.

Ian Fummerton, 61, the owner of ABI Trucking Inc. of Thunder Bay, Ontario, was sentenced Monday by Ontario Superior Court Justice Annalisa Rasaiah. Fummerton pleaded guilty last year to being party to a dangerous driving charge after one of his drivers was involved in a fatal crash near Blind River in 2014.

Court records indicate the victim in the crash was 36-year-old David Dennie, an off-duty Ontario Provincial Police officer. The collision occurred on Highway 17, east of Blind River.

Fummerton was initially charged with criminal negligence causing death, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge, which stems from failing to ensure ABI drivers complied with provincial laws and regulations for on-duty drivers, driver hours and off-duty driver rest hours.

Court records indicate that prosecutors allege the wreck was caused by Gary Tyska, a driver for ABI, who was hauling mail and packages from Thunder Bay to Mississauga and back. On the morning of Feb. 13, 2014, prosecutors allege Tyska fell asleep at the wheel of the truck due to fatigue and drifted into the oncoming lane, striking Dennie’s vehicle.

Prosecutors claim that Tyska was regularly driving the 2,800-km (1,739 miles) trip between Thunder Bay and Mississauga and back as a solo driver in under 48 hours, a trip which should be impossible to complete under Canada’s hours of service. Prosecutors also allege that Tyska kept multiple log books and falsified his logs to complete the trip.

According to a report in the Sault Ste. Marie News, the judge found that evidence suggested Fummerton knew his employees were violating the law, and that they did so with his permission and knowledge.

Upon completion of his jail term, Fummerton will be placed on probation for 18 months. Among the conditions relating to his continued operation of his company are that the company must hire at least one qualified staff member to oversee and supervise the drivers’ compliance with all regulations.

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