BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Trucker Avoids Jail After Crash That Fouled River

09/25/2012 06:53 EDT | Updated 11/25/2012 05:12 EST
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A 35-year-old fuel truck driver who crashed his rig on the Malahat Highway north of Victoria last year has been given a conditional sentence for dangerous driving.

Nanaimo, B.C., resident James Allan Smith was handed the three month conditional term and nine months probation after pleading guilty to the driving offence and also to one count of violating the Fisheries Act, Victoria radio station CFAX reported Tuesday.

No one was hurt, but the incident dumped more than 40,000 litres of gasoline and hundreds of litres of diesel into the Goldstream River, killing thousands of juvenile chum and coho salmon.

It also caused chaos for travellers up and down Vancouver Island because the only highway leading north from Victoria was blocked for almost 24 hours.

In addition to the conditional sentence, Smith's licence is suspended for another year, on top of the two year suspension imposed after the crash, he must perform 200 hours of community service and seek drug and alcohol counselling.

Witnesses described seeing the fully-loaded Columbia Fuels tandem tanker travelling erratically along the highway on April 16, 2011, before crashing and rolling, splitting one of the tanks and sending fuel gushing toward the river just metres away.

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