The Canadian Pacific Railway is being investigated by the RCMP’s major crime unit following allegations of cover-up surrounding the fatal derailment of a train on Feb. 4, 2019 that resulted in the death of three employees.
The crash, which occurred in Field, B.C, was the result of cold weather conditions that caused the air brakes to lose pressure and no additional handbrakes — the train rolled down the mountain reaching speeds of 80 km/h before it crashed into the Kicking Horse River, reported
Three employees, engineer Andrew Dockrell, 56, conductor Dylan Paradis, 33, and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer, 26, were all killed in the crash.
The investigation by the RCMP comes after the CBC’S
The Fifth Estate
uncovered evidence pointing towards a series of major issues surrounding the derailment, and allegations of a coverup from a former CP employee.
The employee, a former Canadian Pacific Police Service (CPPS) officer who was involved in the case, told CBC he quit due to being obstructed — claiming he believes there is a cover-up. CP denies the claim.
“We went to them [BC Prosecution Service] and just had a discussion with them about the potential for a criminal investigation, and they agreed with us that potentially there could be some criminality here and that it warranted further investigation,” said RCMP Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet to
Following the crash, federal safety and labour investigations were conducted and it was investigated by CP’s own federally authorized CPPS — the RCMP investigation is the first outside police involvement in the crash.
The string of failures uncovered by the CBC reveal that CP kept trains running despite extreme cold weather conditions and inadequate precautions that should have been in place. This extreme weather means that the dangerous mountain pass has seen 26 derailments and runaways in 26 years.
“This is going to be a complex investigation,” said Shoihet.
“CP will cooperate with the RCMP on this investigation,” said company spokesman Jeremy Berry to CBC.
While the RCMP is not giving away details as to what they are going to be investigating, they did reveal that they had received formal complaints from a family member, Pam Fraser, requesting an investigation into criminal negligence and obstruction.
Fraser, who is the mother of Paradis, is pleased the RCMP is now involved, saying “we couldn’t be happier.”
“This particularly was completely preventable. Never should have happened this way. So to get answers — we could get closure. That’s huge,” she said to CBC.
Rob Stewart, a health and safety inspector who has worked with the families, told CBC he is thrilled that the RCMP is now involved in the case and that he believes outside police forces in general need to be more involved in cases of workplace fatality.
“Hopefully now with this, when they show up on scene, they look a little bit deeper. They realize their responsibility and they start conducting fulsome investigations,” said Stewart.
Despite the investigation coming about almost two years after the accident occurred, the families are still pleased that the RCMP is going to be investigating.
“It’s not the time that it’s going to take to have the investigation completed. If they are dogged and motivated … that’s what counts,” said Fraser.
Note: This article has been updated to correct errors in an earlier version.
Source: National Post Quebec Nordiques