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Trial hears questions about intersection’s safety

By Kate Shumakova [1]

BELLEVILLE – The question of whether road conditions played a role in a collision that killed two young women was raised in the trial of Allan Cooney Tuesday morning.

Cooney, 46, is standing trial on two counts of dangerous driving causing death and three counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

The accident at Highway 37 [2] and Wiser Road just north of Belleville happened Dec. 20, 2011.

OPP Constable Andrew Boyce, who was the lead investigator of the accident, was questioned by defence attorney Pieter Kort on Tuesday morning. The lawyer presented newspaper articles dating back to the beginning of December 2011 that cited public concerns about the safety of the intersection of Highway 37 and Wiser Road. They also reported on a petition in support of a drastic overhaul of the intersection.

Crown prosecutor Lee Burgess questioned the relevance of these materials but Justice Robert Scott allowed to take these articles into consideration.

Kort asked Boyce his opinion about the petition. Boyce confirmed that he had been  informed about it but said he did not think it was relevant to Cooney’s case.

“I’m from that area. I regularly drive on that road and I regularly investigate collisions on that road. I do not believe the road has been a factor,” he said.

Cooney was driving a transport truck north on Highway 37 when the truck struck a car trying to make a left-hand turn onto Wiser Road. There were four people in the car; two of them, Andrea Manan, 27, and Jenn Bugg, 31, were killed instantly.

The trial continues.