Beaconsfield resident Roy Curnick just wants his life back.
The retired Beaconsfield resident is trying to put the pieces of a shattered front yard back together after an accident in which a young man who had been drinking crashed his car onto Curnick's property more than two months ago.
Curnick, who lives on a busy stretch of Beaconsfield Boulevard near the St. Charles Boulevard intersection, got a phone call late on Sept. 17, while he was travelling in Vancouver. It was not good news.
"The police phoned to see if I was nearby, and I said, 'as a matter of fact, I'm about 3,000 (kilometres) away,'" Curnick said. "They said, 'there's been an accident at your home.'"
In the incident, a 21-year-old Beaconsfield man – who admitted he had been drinking to police – allegedly swerved to avoid an animal on the notoriously circuitous thoroughfare, and lost control of the Ford Escape he was driving. The man drove onto the lawn at the western end of Curnick's property, at which point the SUV went airborne, passing over some 30 feet of shrubs and tall grass before landing violently on Curnick's driveway, gouging out swaths of concrete before barrelling through a huge pile of wet mulch – which still didn't stop the vehicle's progress. The SUV continued through the mulch and slammed a boat trailer against a tree, bending the trailer's sturdy rear bumper.
Curnick believes the young man was going far faster than the 50 km/h posted speed limit along the boulevard, but was not cited for speeding or dangerous driving.
Montreal police Station 1 community-relations officer Const. J.P. Levis said the police did a breathalyzer at the scene, and the young man registered a blood-alcohol level that was less than 0.08, meaning he could not be charged with drunk driving according to federal statutes. Given, though, that the man was holding a probationary license at the time, the man's license was automatically suspended for 180 days, according to the Quebec Highway Safety Code.
"Because the man held a zero-tolerance (for alcohol) driver's license, his license was suspended for 180 days automatically, but according to Canadian law, he committed no crime," Levis said. "The police who were on the scene did exactly what they were supposed to. The young man said he swerved to avoid an animal in the road and when he did, his foot slipped off the brake and onto the gas."
Curnick, though, said he is having trouble getting answers from the police and is annoyed the young man hasn't showed any remorse in the aftermath of the incident.
"I know that maybe there are legal implications if he admits any kind of guilt," Curnick said. "But I feel he should have at least come by and apologized to me in person," he said.
Given the impact of the crash and the car's trajectory, Curnick believes the driver was fortunate to not hit any part of the house or cause himself serious injury.
"He was very lucky that he wasn't seriously injured, but I was lucky as well. He could've crashed into my house, and that would've been an even bigger mess," said Curnick.
It's not hard to imagine the accident making a bigger mess, but the one facing Curnick is already pretty big. More than two months after the incident, he's crawling out from under a mountain of insurance paperwork and has had to quickly arrange for cost estimates to replace the cedar hedge taken out in the crash as well as repairs to his driveway and to the trailer damaged in the crash. He's literally still picking up the pieces of broken glass that dot the hedge and are littered throughout his property.
"It's really not a pleasant situation for me," Curnick said. "Through no fault of my own, I've been caught up in this emotionally upsetting and time-consuming situation, and it's very, very frustrating," he said.