‘Ottawa’ Fatigue or Distraction Likely Cause of Fatal Quebec Crash Last Year: Coroner
Driver fatigue or distraction was the likely cause of a head-on collision near Grenville that killed two young Gatineau women last fall, a Quebec coroner has ruled.
The crash occurred at about 7 a.m. Sept. 17 when a car driven by Elsa-Andrée Loiseau, 26, travelling west on Highway 50, veered into oncoming traffic, glancing off of one oncoming vehicle before crashing head-on into the car driven by Elisabeth Brosda, 21.
Loiseau’s car continued for several metres before bursting into flames. The fire was put out by motorists on the scene.
Loiseau was pronounced dead in hospital in Lachute. Brosda was taken to Sacré-Coeur Hospital in Montreal, where she succumbed to her injuries.
Brosda’s partner, Émanuel Thérien, suffered minor injuries in the crash. Brosda was on her way to an equestrian competition at the time of the collision.
The police investigation determined that road conditions and visibility were good at the time of the crash and there was no sign that either vehicle had attempted to brake before the collision.
Poisson noted in his report that Loiseau’s mother told police her daughter called before leaving Quebec City that morning at about 3:30 a.m. to drive to Gatineau and said she felt tired.
These considerations prompted Poisson to conclude Loiseau was either distracted or had fallen asleep at the wheel.
Loiseau was a University of Ottawa graduate who had recently been accepted into the kinesiology program at Quebec City’s Université Laval.
Although there has been much public debate about safety improvements to the undivided portion of Highway 50, the coroner said the highway design played no role in the crash.
The Quebec government voted in February to widen and Highway 50, concentrating on the most dangerous sections first. However, no timetable has been set.