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Police Were Warned Hours Before Fatal Truck Accident

Posted on Dec 23, 2013

Several weeks ago, we reported on an early morning truck wreck that shook Highway 1. A SUV smashed into a construction truck that had been parked on the side of a freeway. The collision killed the driver at the scene.

Police initially suspected both heavy fog and speeding played a role. But shocking allegations from Abaid Tariq, a local truck driver, have made the story a much bigger deal.

Tariq alleges that, as he drove his tractor-trailer down Highway 1 in Langley on the night before the wreck, he saw a construction vehicle illegally parked on the side of the road and several crewmembers in his lane. He phoned the police at 12:11 a.m. and told the dispatcher, "They are in the middle of the highway, there is no warning signs before them. It's just an invitation to a disaster."

Unfortunately, four hours later, 30-year-old Mandeep Singh Aujla of Abbotsford died, when his SUV hit a vehicle owned by Jakes Construction based in Chilliwack. Tariq provided CBC news a photocopy of his phone bill from the night he called 911.

So far, both Lower Mainland RCMP and Chilliwack RCMP have not commented on Tariq’s call.

Diane Herback, of the B.C. Flagging Association, said that other people also tried to warn police about the parked vehicle. Employees of Mainroad Contracting noted the foggy conditions and the crew's lack of emergency flags or signs. Herback was blunt in her assessment saying, “If you don’t have any advance warning signs and no traffic control on site, somebody is going to die … and two hours later somebody died.”

Jakes Construction, Ltd. released a statement that the company was “deeply saddened by the tragic accident,” but the company denied that its negligence in any way played a part.

An investigation into this truck wreck is ongoing, but the story illustrates how powerful witness testimony can change the contours of an investigation and even shift liability from one party to another.

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