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Government sues trucking company and deceased driver over fiery bridge crash

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The Canadian government has filed a lawsuit against a trucking company and a deceased truck driver over a fiery tanker truck crash that damaged a bridge in 2022.

On May 31, 2024, government officials filed suit against Troyer Ventures Ltd in B.C. Supreme Court. Also named in the suit is the estate of truck driver John Olson, CBC reports.

The lawsuit alleges negligence on behalf of both Troyer Ventures and Olson in a crash that occurred in August 2022 on Highway 97 (Alaskan Highway) north of Fort St. John.

Olson was driving a tanker truck loaded with a liquid natural gas byproduct when he crashed into the Sikanni Chief Bridge. The crash resulted in an explosion and massive fire that caused major damage to the bridge structure.

Olson died at the scene.

The lawsuit alleges that Troyer Ventures did not do enough to make sure that the tanker truck was mechanically sound and that Olson was well-trained enough to transport the hazardous materials.

The suit also alleges that Olson was operating “while his ability to drive was impaired by fatigue or other factors.”

The current estimate for the cost of repairs to the bridge is around $4.25 million.

The B.C. government has been heavily cracking down on trucking companies responsible for damaging infrastructure over the past year.

The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced changes to the Commercial Transport Act (CTA) that will allow fines of up to $100,000 or 18 months in prison for an infrastructure strike involving a commercial vehicle. B.C. officials also issued a speed limiter mandate for commercial vehicles and a rule requiring in-cab warning devices for dump truck drivers.

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