Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 1, 2013

Driver charged in deaths of Palo Alto family

'Dangerous driving' led to fiery 2011 crash on British Columbia highway, authorities say

A Canadian truck driver faces charges in the deaths of four members of a Palo Alto family who were was killed in 2011 in a fiery crash while vacationing in Kootenay National Park in British Columbia, a Canadian newspaper has reported.

Jaswinder Singh Bagri, 41, was charged Jan. 14 in Invermere Provincial Court with multiple counts of dangerous driving in the July 22, 2011, crash that killed Ana-Marie Dias and Robert Howard and their two daughters, Samantha, 11, and Veronica, 9, the Columbia Valley Pioneer reported.

The newspaper said Bagri's flatbed trailer allegedly crossed the center line of a highway and jack-knifed directly in the path of the family's Dodge camper and a Suzuki SUV it was towing, pinning the vehicles against a highway barrier and engulfing all three in flames.

"We do go to a lot of accidents, but it is not very often that we go to an accident where a whole family is killed," Staff Sergeant Marko Shehovac of the Columbia Valley, British Columbia, Royal Canadian Mounted Police told the Pioneer.

"I think these are appropriate charges given the investigation."

Provincial Court Judge Ron Webb issued a bench warrant for Bagri — who missed his first scheduled court appearance — requiring he or his lawyer to appear Feb. 12.

Dias and Howard were remembered by friends and family as a creative, bright and hospitable couple who loved to explore the outdoors and were active in the El Carmelo Elementary School community, where Veronica was a student. Samantha was a student at JLS Middle School.

—Palo Alto Weekly staff

Comments

Posted by Rainman, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 31, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I saw Mr. Howard in the morning when i dropped my kids off at school. He became one of my customers and a good referral. I was shocked when I heard of this terrible accident. I'm glad to see some justice in the works.


Posted by No-Joy-Here, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2013 at 4:09 pm

There is a picture of the accident on this newspaper's web-site:
Web Link

Seems the defendent, nor his lawyer, showed for his court case, so the RCMP will have to chase him up, and drag him into court.


Posted by JA3+, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 31, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Is the truck driver -- Jaswinder Singh Bagri -- related to Ajaib Singh Bagri?

Ajaib Singh Bagri is well-known in Canada. He was once accused -- later acquitted -- of playing a lead role in the 23 June 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182 over the Atlantic Ocean. In 1984, Ajaib Singh Bagri 'worked as a forklift driver at a sawmill near the town of Kamloops' [ Web Link ].


Posted by Elizabeth Maulick, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 1, 2013 at 12:18 pm

The family is so vibrant in my mind. What a devastating loss for all of us. I think of them often!


Posted by Chrisc, a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 1, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Singh is a Very common Sikh or Punjabi name.


Posted by Frank Hall, a resident of another community
on May 7, 2013 at 7:11 pm

I think that it is absolutely disgusting that the RCMP has kept everyone in the dark on this story until now and that the accused is still free. Now I hear that they are going to delay the trial for a year because the accused claims he has no understanding of English (and he drives a double trailer semi?)!!


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