‘Ottawa’ Charges laid, victim ID’d after flying tractor-trailer wheel causes fatal highway crash
The OPP charged a driver and his employer after a set of wheels flew off a commercial tractor-trailer Friday morning, killing the driver of a van travelling in the opposite direction on Highway 417.
The driver who was killed has been identified by police as Gennadi Brianski, 50, of Carleton Place.
Brianski’s son, Dennis, posted a heartfelt message on his Facebook account Friday night breaking the tragic news about his dad, who he described as “the kindest man I’ve ever met in my life.”
“Never missed a day of work, and loved one woman for all his life,” Dennis wrote of his late father, who also went by the nickname “G man.”
“From facing mandatory conscription in the USSR, to moving to another country to raise a family. Let me tell you he didn’t have an easy life by any means, but he still had a smile that would light up the room, and a resounding optimistic aura that followed him.”
Dennis could not be reached for comment Friday evening.
Dozens of supporters offered their condolences to Dennis on Facebook, describing his dad as a dedicated family man.
Jason Clarke, who grew up in the house next door to the Brianski family, said in an interview that many people in Carleton Place are shaken up by the tragedy.
Clarke’s parents lived next door to the Brianski family for nearly 20 years.
Gennadi Brianski was a great help to his parents, said Clarke, after he and his brother left home.
“When my brother and I ended up moving out of the house, going to school and playing hockey, he was always helping my dad shovel the driveway, cut the grass, anything that needed to be done around the house because my dad is a little bit older,” said Clarke, who owns the Carleton Place Canadians junior A hockey team. “He was just a really good guy, a good-hearted person.”
He called Brianski’s son, Dennis, a “really good kid” who was the product of his father, who always supported his interest in hockey and track and field.
“Dennis is just like his dad, just a great person,” he said. “Very humble and hard working, just a really good kid and comes from a great family.”
He said Brianski moved from Russia with his wife to raise a family in Canada.
Clarke said he was caught in the traffic jams caused by the accident on Friday morning, and initially didn’t realize what had happened.
“It’s one of the weirdest things, especially when you are sitting in the traffic wondering what the hell is going on … my dad was very shook up, G and his wife treated my mom and dad like gold.”
The driver of the tractor-trailer that lost the wheels, Daniel Mongeon of Gatineau, has been charged under the Highway Traffic Act with one count of driving a commercial motor vehicle with parts detached. Police say he was driving a commercial vehicle for the Ottawa-based company, ICB Food Distribution.
The company has also been charged with permitting operation of an unsafe commercial motor vehicle under the Highway Traffic Act.
A witness described seeing an object fly off the tractor trailer and smash into the windshield of the white van before blasting through the roof like an explosion. The roof of the white van was torn off in the collision, which happened around 6 a.m.
All eastbound lanes of Hwy. 417 were closed just west of the Carling exit, backing up traffic for kilometres and creating havoc for morning commuters for several hours. Lanes re-opened a few hours later.
The tractor-trailer that lost the wheel was travelling westbound on the Queensway, according to the OPP. The wheel jumped across the concrete median and struck the van travelling in the far right eastbound lane, said OPP Const. Guy Prevost.
The other driver had only minor injuries, according to Ottawa Paramedic Services. There was another four-car collision as drivers tried the avoid the debris on the highway caused by the first crash, but no one was injured, according to Prevost.
In another crash, a 71-year-old woman was taken to hospital in serious but stable condition early Friday morning after her car crashed head-on with a pickup truck on Prince of Wales Drive north of Fallowfield road.