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Accusations of blame-shifting emerge in trial over fatal dump truck crash near Alliston

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The man charged with criminal negligence causing death in a dump truck crash near Alliston three years ago took the stand in a Barrie courtroom Thursday and was grilled by the Crown about his involvement.

While professing his innocence in connection to the deadly crash on Sept. 22, 2020, along the Adjala-Tosorontio-New Tecumseth Townline, Milton Urgiles responded to the Crown's continuous questions about his involvement with "I don't remember" or "I can't remember."

Still, the Crown hammered away at Urgiles for more than five hours, accusing him of shifting the blame for the crash on 53-year-old Denis Garant, who was behind the wheel of the dump truck the day it blew its front left tire and crashed into a ditch; killing him instantly.

The Crown argued Urgiles was trying to "remove fault from himself and place it squarely on Mr. Garant."

The Crown asked Urgiles about his several safety infractions and the loss of his commercial vehicle operator's registration in 2014 after racking up more than $7,000 in unpaid fines.

The 46-year-old man from Toronto told the court he couldn't remember how he'd dealt with the fine or when he had owned the 2006 Freightliner Garant was driving that day.

The Crown referenced Urgiles' earlier testimony, where he said he trained Garant over three or four days and Garant was making mistakes driving the dump truck. Urgiles noted Garant made several errors in completing turns and operating the truck's lift.

He testified he warned Garant to be careful.

The court heard the dump truck was supplied by Urgiles and the company he worked for - EcuaCan Excavating, which is owned by Urgiles' spouse, Janeth Zambrano, who, despite a court order, has evaded testifying against her longtime partner.

"There is a scheme at play here, and it cost someone's life," the Crown said.

The trial got underway in late September and picked up again last month when Urgiles testified he received a text from Garant the night before the crash in which Garant expressed concerns over the dump truck's steering.

Urgiles testified he later checked the truck's steering for any defects that night and told the court he found nothing wrong.

"I went to check the truck, not to fix it. To make sure it was okay. To make sure it was safe to drive on the street," he testified.

The trial is scheduled to resume in mid-December.

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