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Two N.L. families sue over highway deaths

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Two teachers were killed in 2016 Trans-Canada Highway crash

The families of the two men killed in a multi-vehicle crash on the Trans-Canada Highway last year have filed civil suits against several people involved in the incident, including one of the drivers facing regulatory charges and his employer.

Sarah Pittman and Frances Ralph and their families will seek to have their cases heard in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s once lawyers receive information from the RCMP file and other relevant disclosure regarding the April 2016 crash.

Their husbands, Shannon Pittman, 40, and Randy Ralph, 52, died as a result of the collision near Butter Pot Park on April 16, 2016. A third man in the car, Dwaine Dalton, was seriously injured.

All three were teachers at the Whitbourne Youth Centre who were in the same vehicle on their way back to the metro region that day.

Details of the case have not yet been released, but traffic had reportedly stopped when an ATV fell out of the back of a pickup truck. Moments later, a domino-effect collision occurred, causing a major crash.

Kyle Follett — who allegedly rear-ended the teachers’ vehicle, driven by Dalton — was said to have been operating a company vehicle belonging to J.B. Hand and Sons Ltd.

Follett, of Clarke’s Beach, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of driving without due care and attention, under the Highway Traffic Act. His trial was originally set for September, but has been set over to February 2018.

If convicted, Follett would be handed a fine, from $120 to $180, since he would be considered a first offender.

Sarah Pittman and her family are represented by Laura Brazil, while Jerome Kennedy is the Ralph family’s lawyer.

There are 10 defendants named in the civil suit. Besides Follett and J.B. Hand and Sons Ltd., the driver of the pickup truck and owner are also named.

The Pittman case is scheduled to be called in court Thursday to deal with the production order that would allow lawyers to view the investigation information in the RCMP file of the collision.

It’s expected to be a long process before a final determination of liability is made. Others involved in the collision are also expected to file civil suits.

 

rosie.mullaley@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelyRosie

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