Family of victim speaks out after two fatal waste truck crashes in Kitchener
Published Sunday, February 28, 2021 1:11PM EST
KITCHENER -- After two crashes involving waste trucks in Kitchener resulted in two pedestrians dying, one of the victims' family is calling for change.
Nancy Ouellette, 68, was crossing the road with her dog, Lady, along Tuerr Drive on July 14 when she was struck by a waste truck. A 29-year-old Cambridge man has since been charged in connection to the incident.
Her son, Benjamin, is reminded of his mother's optimistic, loving, and caring nature every time he hears a certain song.
"A Beautiful Morning by The Rascals was her favourite song," he said. "Every time I hear it I want to be happy, but it's not happy yet.
"My mom was a light. Everybody around her was affected by her in a positive way."
Benjamin and the family are now speaking out after hearing about a second fatal incident in Kitchener on Feb. 18 that involved another waste vehicle.
"Same time of day, coming from around the corner, same age group," he said. "It was uncanny how similar they were."
A 77-year-old woman was killed in the most recent crash, as charges are pending in the ongoing investigation.
The trucks in both incidents are operated by Miller Waste Systems.
"One accident may just be that: an accident," said Benjamin. "But to have it happen again within seven months, same company, seems like there needs to be change."
In a statement, the president of Miller Waste Systems says they are reviewing their training processes policies, have conducted reviews of the equipment, and are looking into new technologies like advanced camera and sensor systems.
The company adds that they plan to start piloting a new truck with these features in Cambridge next week.
"Pain sometimes puts us in a position where we have to take a stand and make a difference," said Benjamin.
He is also calling on the region to hold Miller Waste Systems accountable and initiate a public awareness campaign about the dangers of these vehicles to pedestrians.
In a statement, The Region of Waterloo says the safest deliver of services is an absolute goal and requirement for them, and that when they hire contractors, they follow the stringiest policies to ensure they are properly vetted.
"We can make a difference in our community if we bring some awareness to this and make sure this doesn't happen a third time," said Benjamin.