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Supervisor found guilty of criminal negligence in deadly dump truck crash

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A man charged in connection with a fatal dump truck crash near Alliston nearly four years ago has been found guilty of criminal negligence causing death.

Milton Urgiles learned his fate in a Barrie courtroom on Wednesday following a lengthy trial that saw the defendant try to place blame on the deceased and where a key witness managed to evade testifying.Emergency crews attend the scene of a fatal collision on Adjala-Tecumseth Townline near Alliston, Ont., on Tues., Sept. 22, 2020. (Source: OPP)

During the trial that started in September, the court learned Denis Garant lost control of the dump truck and crashed into a ditch before hitting a tree in the fall of 2020 along the Adjala-Tosorontio-New Tecumseth Townline.

The 53-year-old husband and father died instantly.

The Crown argued that Urgiles and the company he worked for supplied the dump truck and that it was unsafe to be on the roads.

The Crown accused Urgiles, Garant's supervisor at the time, of ignoring Garant's concerned text messages alerting him to issues with the truck the night before the deadly crash.

The Crown said Urgiles didn't respond and instead sent the vehicle out with Garant behind the wheel.

Urgiles told the court he had checked the truck's steering for any defects the night of Garant's texts and found nothing wrong.Denis Garant is pictured in this undated photo. (Source: DeMarco Funeral Home obituary)

In contrast, an OPP expert witness testified about examining the dump truck after the collision, noting he found one of its front tires had no tread on its inner half.

He also said he discovered an exposed steel cord and told the court the truck shouldn't have been on the road because of a lack of traction and an alignment issue. He testified there wasn't enough structural support in the weakened tire to sustain an impact.

Urgiles defence countered, saying the dump truck had undergone a safety inspection about a month before the collision.A dump truck crashed into a tree on Adjala-Tecumseth Townline near Alliston, Ont., on Sept. 22, 2020.

Meanwhile, the owner of the trucking company, Janeth Zambrano, who, despite a court order, dodged testifying against her longtime partner, Urgiles.

The Crown argued Zambrano had "gone to great lengths" to avoid being served a subpoena, saying there was a "scheme at play."

The Crown believed Zambrano held crucial evidence in the case, including procedures and safety protocols relating to the vehicles.

In March, the defence sought a mistrial, arguing the Crown failed to disclose certain photo evidence in a timely manner, but the application was ultimately denied.

Throughout the trial, Urgiles maintained driver error caused the deadly crash that claimed Garant's life.

However, on Wednesday, Justice Mary Vallee said there was no doubt the failed tire caused the crash.

Justice Vallee added that Urgiles knowingly failed to have the truck inspected by a licensed mechanic. "He did not take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm of Mr. Garant."

The matter is scheduled to return to court next week to set a date for sentencing.

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