A Canadian automotive technician may yet face the very serious charge of criminal negligence causing death in connection with a deadly Ontario crash more than three years ago.
The charge against Joe Ramono of Oshawa, Ont. was dismissed in June 2014 by Ontario Court Judge Robert Graydon, following a preliminary trial.
Since then, however, assistant crown attorney Lisa Wannamaker won an appeal of that dismissal and Mr. Ramono was again ordered to stand trial on the charge. He also faces a charge of uttering a forged document.
Mr. Ramono’s Toronto-based lawyer, Glen W. Orr, has appealed the reinstatement of the more serious charge. His application will be heard in October.
The charges stem from a fatal head-on collision on Aug. 3, 2012 that claimed the life of 27-year-old Abigail MacNaughton of Peterborough, Ont.
Mr. Ramono had issued a safety certificate a month earlier that gave a clean bill of health to one of the vehicles in that crash – a 1995 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup with over 400,000 kilometers on the odometer.
Mr. Ramono was charged following an investigation by the Peterborough detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Police have said the pickup truck did not meet safety standards and shouldn’t have been on the road.
Mr. Ramono, who has been on leave of absence from his job as an automotive technician since he was charged, says he did nothing wrong.
“Of course I checked that vehicle,” he said as he was leaving court last summer. “There was nothing wrong with it.”
The driver of the pickup, Joseph William Towns of Lakefield, Ont., was charged with dangerous driving causing death, criminal negligence causing death, and two counts of uttering forged documents.
In an unrelated case, a Vermont technician faces a charge of manslaughter and reckless endangerment in relation to issuing a safety sticker for a 1992 Chevy Corsica two months before it was involved in a crash that killed an 82-year-old woman.
Police say Steven Jalbert, a tech at A.J.’s Sunoco in Barre, Vt., certified the vehicle even though its brake lines and rocker panels were corroded and in a visibly unsafe condition.
An expert mechanic hired by the state said, based the corrosion seriously weakened the vehicle’s frame and caused the engine to be forced into the passenger compartment during the crash, rather than downward.