A commercial dump truck driver who backed up without warning on a job site in North Vancouver, killing a young surveyor one year ago, has been fined $2,000 and banned from driving for six months.
Sandeep Singh Grewal, 35, of Abbotsford, was sentenced May 23 for his role in what Judge Patrick Doherty described as a “tragic accident” that took place in the 4500 block of Timberline Place on June 5, 2018.
On that day, Grewal was working for a commercial trucking company and had been hired to haul away materials from a home renovation, said Crown prosecutor Ariana Ward.
A person who was helping to direct Grewal was standing at the front of the truck and guiding him forward at the time, said Ward.
But Grewal, driving a large dump truck, didn’t feel he could make the turn he was supposed to without striking vehicles in the residential neighbourhood.
So Grewal “decided to reverse back out of the driveway for just a short distance,” said Ward. “Instead of driving forward he drove backward.”
A young man working as a surveyor, Chung-Yin Lau, was standing directly behind the truck when it unexpectedly backed up, said Ward.
“It struck him and he died instantly.”
Ward added the beeping sensor that most commercial trucks are equipped with to warn people when they are backing up was “not working properly.”
Grewal’s lawyer Ranjit Randhawa told the judge what happened that day “was a terrible accident.”
Grewal, who immigrated from India in 2001, had been a commercial truck driver for about five years at the time, said his lawyer.
Randhawa said the truck was supplied by the company he worked for but as the driver, Grewal has taken responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty to the Motor Vehicle Act charge of driving without due care and attention.
The aftermath of the accident caused Grewal to fall into depression and use of drugs and alcohol, said Randhawa, for which he has attended a rehabilitation clinic.
Speaking through a Punjabi interpreter, Grewal told the judge he felt guilty about what happened. “I’m so sorry,” he said.
Doherty described the accident as “a very tragic case” caused when Grewal “made a momentary bad decision to back up when he was driving his dump truck.”
“There’s no sentence I can impose to account for the life of Mr. Lau,” he added. “…We can’t put a price on that.”
Two other motor vehicle act charges were stayed by the Crown.
According to earlier police reports, Lau, 24, was a student at BCIT and had only been on the job for a couple of weeks as a surveyor when he died.