NEWS

Police confirm 911 call was made hours before fatal crash

10/25/2013 09:27 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
CBC News has confirmed that a truck driver did in fact call police to warn them about a dangerously parked construction vehicle that was later involved in a fatal accident Tuesday morning on Highway 1 in Langley, B.C.

Abaid Tariq says he was driving a fully-loaded tractor trailer down the eastbound centre lane of Highway 1 in dense fog Monday night when he was forced to veer out of the way of a construction truck that was parked in his lane without proper signage or warning flags.

Tariq said he also saw two construction crew members working near the parked truck.

Tariq says he was so perturbed by his experience, that he called police at 11:11 p.m. PT to warn them about the danger the construction truck posed to road users, and the danger motorists posed to the workers.

"I told them about the situation — that there is a truck there and a construction crew working there, and it looks sketchy and it's unusual," he told CBC News. "And they said they're going to do something about it."

A few hours later, at about 3:50 a.m. PT, an SUV smashed into the back of the construction truck and exploded, killing the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle, 30-year-old Mandeep Singh Aujla, of Abbotsford.

The truck belonged to Chilliwack-based Jakes Construction, a contractor currently building an eastbound truck climbing ramp between 264 and 232 streets. The crew members were unharmed.

CBC News contacted Lower Mainland RCMP on Wednesday to inquire about the alleged 911 call.

At that time, RCMP responded that according to their files, they did not have a record of the phone call.

Today, Tariq provided CBC News with a photograph of his phone bill, which shows a 911 call made at 11:11 p.m. PT Monday night, which was directed to the Abbotsford Police Department.  

Abbotsford police have since confirmed to CBC News that the call did indeed take place, but that it was redirected to Chilliwack RCMP.

It remains unclear what happened after that point, and neither Chilliwack RCMP nor Lower Mainland RCMP were available to comment today.

Two separate warnings

According to Diane Herback of the B.C. Flagging Association, Tariq's call to police was not the only attempt to warn the construction crew to get off the highway.

Herback says that workers with Mainroad Contracting stopped at the scene hours before the fatal accident to tell the crew that they lacked proper signage and flags, and that they were concerned about the extremely foggy conditions.

"[If]] you don't have any advance warning signs and no traffic control on site, somebody is going to die," Herback said. "And two hours, later somebody died."

Jakes Construction has declined to comment on the incident, which is currently under police investigation.

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