Nearly a year after union raises cover-up concerns, RCMP launch criminal probe into mountain rail crash

Nearly two years after a crash killing three workers, and almost a year after a CP Police Services investigator publicly said his work was being blocked by superiors, the RCMP has agreed to calls from the Teamsters' Union for a criminal probe.

The Canadian Press with files from CNC News

FIELD, B.C. — The RCMP say a criminal investigation has been launched into a fatal Canadian Pacific train derailment near the boundary between B.C. and Alberta in February 2019.

Sgt. Janelle Shoihet says the probe comes after a preliminary review of the incident near Field, B.C., that killed three workers.

The incident was initially investigated by the Canadian Pacific Police Service, a private force with police authority, which focused on the behaviours of the crew in the hours leading up to the deadly crash.

In January 2020, the Teamsters Union, which represented the workers killed, called for a criminal investigation after a former Canadian Pacific Police officer alleged his superiors obstructed his investigation.

In a CBC interview, former CPPS officer Mark Tataryn said superiors prevented him from investigating the maintenance history of the train and management's directions to the train crew for passing through the Rocky Mountain pass.

Shiohet says police consulted with the Transportation Safety Board, Transport Canada and the BC Prosecution Service and determined further investigation was warranted.

She would not speculate about potential charges or the scope of the investigation.

The Transportation Safety Board has said the westbound train was parked on a grade with its air brakes applied for two hours when it started rolling on its own, gaining speeds far above the limit for the mountain pass.

The handbrakes were not applied and the train barrelled along for just over three kilometres before derailing at a curve in the tracks ahead of a bridge.

The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks, killing conductor Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer, who were in the lead locomotive.

The three men had just boarded the train to take over from another crew and weren't ready to depart when the train started moving on its own, the board said shortly after the derailment.

Canadian Pacific could not immediately be reached for comment.

 

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