I was coming off of HWY 56 (A.K.A Wonderland Rd N) in London heading southbound into the city. My vehicle was coasting off of cruise control from the point that the limit was signed to change when the light ahead of me changed from green to red quickly. (incident occurred at approximately 0005 HRS)
I was doing approximately 65 km/h in a 60 km/h zone on a Wintery evening, the roads throughout my journey and even in the city were, as I phrased to the interviewing officer, "wet, snowy, slushy, and possibly icy."
When the light went red I applied my brakes and began a long slide (lasted for approximately 50-60m if I had to give a rough estimate, I will be measuring more exactly in the near future). The vehicles travelling east-bound were about parallel to one another and about 60m from their own green turning light. -I've speculated that one of the vehicles slowed to miss me, the other appeared to have either not altered his speed or did so at a point where he, like I, slid into the collision-.
The driver of the vehicle that I collided with was, at the time of the collision, still recovering from a previous and very severe collision out of province, which had caused him to receive a handicap indicator.
As soon as my vehicle stopped, I went to verify that the other driver was not bleeding/dying and that his vehicle was not to become a tomb (no fire, no wire, no glass, no gas) I did a visual initial survey of wounds, with the driver coherent it was readily seen that he had jammed his wrist and arms and had a bruised shoulder from the seat belt.
The interviewing officer said that he spoke to the other (6) witnesses and that my story is the same story he heard from all of them as well.
The interviewing officer asked me if I entered the intersection on a red light, to which I responded, "yes, when I slid into the intersection the light for the North/South-Bound lanes (my lanes) was red," and I entered of no control of my own.
He asked me a few more times in a few more ways if when I entered the intersection my light was red and the East/West-Bound lane was green. To which my response was the same.
The interviewing officer stated to me that he would be charging me with careless driving, but because I was honest, polite, forthcoming, and worried about the safety of the other driver he would try to find an "obscure" charge, such as: failure to stop for a red light, that he could charge me with. At this time no charges have been formally laid.
With all of this said my questions are:
- His vehicle was badly damaged and he had a bruised wrist, at what point can I become liable in a civil matter for the collision if they determine that the fault remains with me?
- What defences can I use? I've been looking at case law for the last 8 hours and it appears that by saying not guilty the onus lies with the crown to prove my negligence, am I understanding that correctly?
- If I was below the threshold of what a reasonable, prudent driver would have done, but did not drive in a manner that would be in breach of my duty to the public and that I did have regard for the safety of others because entering the intersection was not an act of "driving" (driving being defined as the control and operation of a motor vehicle) being that I was sliding and therefore not in control. Would that be enough to prove that the charge careless driving is a misnomer of what occurred?
- In this situation is there an ability for me to introduce doubt that the other driver may have seen the light changing and therefore sped up instead of slowed towards the intersection which was another and serious factor in the collision?\
- If these actions were below the threshold for the standard that a reasonable, prudent driver is held to, but my duty to the public was upheld and I was not deserving of punishment would I be acquitted?
- I've been informed that as of right now I could still be waiting to receive a notice of charges laid and therefore have no charges against me for which I have formally been issued. Is there a time limit for them to charge me for the collision?
- Based on my story above, were my actions below the threshold of a reasonable prudent individual?
2) The threshold for careless driving is typically pretty high. Losing control might not be sufficient for a conviction by itself, but its problematic you were exceeding the speed limit in bad weather. If youre charged with a red light offence, losing control wont be a defence whatsoever. Red light offences are absolute liability offences, meaning the fact it was unintentional is irrelevant.
3) Arguing you werent driving since youd lost control wont fly in Court. If anything it would help the argument you were being careless.
4) You went through on a red, its not the other drivers duty to avoid you.
5) Im not sure what you mean by duty to the public. If youre referring to checking on the other driver, etc., thats irrelevant to the charge itself.
6) The police have up to six months to charge you under the HTA. Personally I think a red light offence is more likely since its easier to prove. If you are charged with careless, the Crown will probably offer you a plea deal to the red light offence.
7) I could see it going either way in Court if you're charged with careless.
If it becomes a red light offence would it be more intelligent to plead to a lesser or would going to trial be more applicable.
Also, when I get charged eventually, would I be more in line to take option 2 to go to early resolution or does that immediately admit guilt?
The question above is my way of asking if I choose to discuss it with the Crown before hand to try and find an early resolution but am unsatisfied would I still be able to pursue trial, or does this immediately implicate me?
If you're charged with the red light offence, there are a few 0-demerit point intersection offences that could be plea-bargained. Having said that, the officer will not be at the trial, so the other driver and independent witnesses will have to say you went through on the red.
It's probably in your best interest to choose trial, get disclosure and see if the witnesses actually show up. I've seen a lot of accident charges get withdrawn because the other driver and witnesses fail to show up.
That being said, I'm contacting a ticket defender as council to try and understand my defences more accurately.
Thanks for the insight you've given me, it really helped me prepare for this eventuality.\
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