Skip to main content

Jason Eligh, pictured with his son Parker, was killed when a set of wheels came off a tractor trailer travelling in the opposite lane. This picture was taken about seven hours before he died.

Eligh family photo/Eligh family photo

Two people have been killed in two weeks by wheels coming off transport trucks in Ontario, leaving family members calling for more strict trucking regulations and enforcement.

Miroslawa Chmielewski, 53, was driving to work on the Queen Elizabeth Way Thursday morning when she was killed by a stray wheel that bounced over the median near the Burlington Skyway. Only 12 days before, 24-year-old Jason Eligh had just dropped off his two children at a relative's on the way to see a friend, when a set of wheels crossed over a median on Highway 401 and struck his vehicle near Brockville, killing him.

For the Eligh family, hearing about a similar and seemingly preventable death so soon after losing Jason has been difficult.

Story continues below advertisement

"We feel what they're going through," said Jason's father, Larry Eligh. "Things like this, they just shouldn't happen.

"Don't tell me a tire comes flying off the transport for any reason," he said. "There's got to be a reason."

In an interview, Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli said the deaths reinforce the urgency to have enhanced inspections across the province.

"There are two fatalities and there are two fatalities too [many]" he said, adding that a new inspection program has been in the works for three years.

However, for now, it's only in place in Windsor and Sarnia and will soon be implemented at a stop between Brantford and London. Old protocols allowed an inspector to remain inside a booth as trucks drove through the station. The new program requires the inspector to leave the booth and examine different parts of the truck. This requires physical changes to stations, which take time, the ministry says.

The minister didn't have a timeline for when it will be province-wide. "It's going to be implemented over the next several years," he said.

Two inspection stations have been shuttered in recent years but Mr. Chiarelli said the number of inspectors has remained the same by consolidating with nearby stations.

Story continues below advertisement

On Friday, police announced that officers found the driver of the truck that had a wheel come off the day before, killing Ms. Chmielewski.

The driver was found Thursday evening, but OPP Sergeant Dave Woodford said he didn't know where police found the truck or whether the driver was aware of the collision before leaving the scene. No charges have been laid.

Ms. Chmielewski, a Hamilton mother of three, was the seventh person killed on Ontario roads by a loose wheel since 1997. In that year, there was a spate of runaway wheels, 215 in total, and legislation was introduced so that anyone liable for wheel separation could be fined between $2,000 and $50,000.

Mr. Eligh's father wants further improvements sooner rather than later to combat what the Transportation Ministry refers to as "wheel-off incidents." There had been 47 so far this year before the most recent one.

"They need to start enforcing fines or whatever they do to make these transport companies liable," he said.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter