Who was at fault? Response

This piece will serve as two things:

First, the answer to the question posed when Road Warrior News posted this video on June 4: “Who was at fault?”

Second, it will be a farewell column for John Papadakis, who passed away suddenly at only age 58 on Saturday, June 12, of a ruptured aorta.

“Who was at Fault?” was meant to be a regular column by John, who was a dedicated and talented paralegal; John delighted in fighting tickets for his clients and was successful a great deal of the time (including when he defended one of my own family members in an ugly, unjust fight – and won!)

Ironically, on the morning of June 12th I spent two hours on the phone with John, discussing the above video of the truck accident; the idea of making “Who was at Fault?” a regular column, which he was very keen to do; COVID lockdowns and vaccines and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Ontario’s provincial government, Doug Ford, the late Rob Ford (a personal friend of John’s) and Rule of Law (or lack of it) in the City of Toronto; and what an imbecilic waste of skin Justin Trudeau is. Specific episodes of “X-Files” and “Star Trek” were used as analogies.

A conversation with John Papadakis in full flight was a giant adventure, to be sure. At 11:30am he exclaimed, “Rita, we have been talking for two hours!”

We summarized his key points on the “Who was at Fault?” article to accompany the June 4 video, made a plan for the next several columns and said “good-bye,” full of ideas and plans.

When it appeared there was no hope for my daughter-in-law to fight a truly unfair accident ticket, John took on the file – and WON. It was a very big celebration day.

Five hours later, he was gone. All that energy, all that cheerful good will, all of those big ideas, all of that life, government, community and courtroom experience: gone.

I am still trying to get my mind around the fact that such a vibrant Life Force can be snuffed out so quickly and unceremoniously. I guess it can. I guess billions of other people have accepted this reality over the millennia; I gather I have to accept it now, too. There will never be another like John Papadakis.


So, who was at Fault?

The video posted on June 4th depicted a vehicle leaving a construction zone getting t-boned by a tractor-trailer on the highway.

RWN posted the video with the question “Who was at fault?” and only two possible options for the answer:

#1 – the truck exiting the construction site; or

#2 – the truck on the highway

The post received 151 hits and the votes split almost exactly 2:1, with 67 per cent of responses saying the truck exiting the construction site was at fault, and 33 per cent saying the truck on the highway was at fault.

Although there was no option provided for comment on the RWN survey itself, several viewers commented on the Facebook and Twitter posts, mainly concerning the highway truck driver’s lack of attention to the road:

  • “The highway driver never slowed down AT ALL – you never hear the sound of the truck’s brakes! The driver was distracted.”
  • “The highway driver must have had his head down – he was not looking at the road. Probably, he was looking at his cell phone.”
  • “The highway truck was travelling at a speed much too fast for a construction zone.”
  • “Too fast for a construction zone – highway driver was not paying attention.”

In retrospect, and according to paralegal John Papadakis, there should have been a third option for which to vote:

#3 – both drivers were at fault

“Both drivers were at fault, both should have been charged,” Papadakis said, after viewing the video. “Of course, you never know how things will go at court until you get to court, but based upon the video clip, I would say both drivers made significant errors and should have been charged.”

The driver pulling out of the construction zone made the first and most obvious mistake: “He merged improperly. There should have been a merge lane for him to get out of the construction site and onto the highway, but blocking three live lanes of traffic is not an option.”

Additionally, he noted, “The driver should not have tried to pull out without a flag-man to direct traffic. That would have prevented all of this.”

With regard to the truck on the highway, Papadakis said, “At the very least, the driver would have been charged with Careless Driving. He did not slow down in a construction zone; there was no sound of brakes. It appears the driver was distracted by something, which might have been a phone, but in any case, he was distracted and driving carelessly.”