Transport Canada unaware of findings in fiery crash

Police will not pursue criminal charges in the horrific May 8, 2013 crash which killed one woman and injured many others. - Sukhwant Dhillon file photo
Police will not pursue criminal charges in the horrific May 8, 2013 crash which killed one woman and injured many others.
— image credit: Sukhwant Dhillon file photo

The RCMP conclusion that mechanical failure was behind a deadly high-speed crash in May of 2013 at Westminster Highway and Knight Street was not passed on to Transport Canada.

The May 8, 2013 crash involved a speeding Aston Martin DB that one witness estimated was going 200 kilometres per hour when it smashed into the back of several vehicles stopped at a red light, killing a 44-year-old Richmond woman.

Last week, The Richmond Review revealed that Richmond Mounties concluded that no criminal charges will be laid against the driver of the Aston Martin.

“Transport Canada has not been made aware of this fatal motor vehicle accident and will contact the RCMP and ICBC to request the report and its findings,” said Transport Canada spokesperson Karine Martel.

“While there is no obligation for Canadian police agencies to report potential motor vehicle safety-related defects to Transport Canada, we have established relationships with many law enforcement agencies which allows full co-operation and information sharing if an accident is believed to have been caused by a manufacturing defect.”

While a mechanical failure is suspected, whether that was caused by a lack of proper maintenance or a manufacturing error isn’t known.

Neither Richmond RCMP or ICBC were saying much about the investigation.

On Monday, Transport Canada revealed there was an incident it described as “engine surge”, in which a person driving a 2001 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage got into an accident.

“The complainant in this incident was traveling in stop-and-go traffic when the engine RPM surged suddenly and the vehicle lurched forward, hitting the vehicle ahead at a relatively slow speed and causing minimal damage,” Martel wrote in an e-mail. “The driver maintains that his foot was on the brake pedal the whole time, just pressing on and off the pedal to allow the vehicle to move forward.”

The Aston Martin was inspected by the dealer who was unable to find a defect.

“Pedal geometry was examined by the dealer, who concluded that in this situation, a pedal error by the driver was not likely,” Martel wrote.

This type of “engine surge” was not unheard of, according to Transport Canada.

“While this is believed to be an isolated case, the dealer stated this type of incident has been seen before with other V12-engine vehicles. The dealer also stated that in stop-and-go traffic, when the brakes are continually applied, the vacuum supply in the brake booster gets depleted, causing the engine speed to increase trying to compensate. It is believed that this compensation, along with the loss of power brakes, may have contributed to the incident above. The dealer has not tried to recreate the incident; however, in a brake-hold test, the brakes successfully held the vehicle under full throttle.”

The May 8, 2013 accident happened in the middle of a sunny spring afternoon, and involved eight vehicles, causing life-threatening injuries to several other drivers and passengers.

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