LETHBRIDGE: A fatal traffic collision going back to last spring, has resulted in a $2,000 fine and probation for an American truck driver.
49-year-old Thomas Susenbach pleaded guilty to making an illegal U-turn, and a charge of careless driving was withdrawn by the Crown Thursday morning in a Lethbridge courtroom.
Around 6-AM on March 5th in the dark and in dense fog, Susenbach was driving a tractor trailer unit on Highway 23 when he missed his turn onto Highway 519. He stopped and took several minutes thinking of what to do next, as he didn't know the area at all and his GPS unit wasn't working. At that point he decided to try and make a U-turn with the 53-foot unit.
While Susenbach told the court that the fog was extremely thick and provided little visibility, he added that felt he could make the turn because he didn't see anyone coming.
One vehicle did in fact see the truck and come to a stop, however another vehicle driven by 57-year old Rodney Povey of Champion continued on and slammed into the truck, which was still turning and blocking both lanes of traffic.
The Crown noted that Povey died on his way to the hospital.
Before sentencing Susenbach made a brief statement, which include the following, "It's really changed my life, it's something I'll never forget, I think about it everyday," later adding, "I feel bad for the family, I really do. This is something I've got to live with the rest of my life."
In addition to the $2,000 fine, which is the strongest punishment available for making an illegal U-turn, the probation order will prevent the Minnesota native from driving in Canada for a period of 90-days.