Volume 93, Issue 9

Tuesday, September 14, 1999


LTC faces impending lawsuit

UWOSA snags contract and raise

CASA lobby on deck

Students await new Ministry's words

Shuffle means new programming

Police Blotter

News Briefs

Western academics back Chretien's call

DriveSafe sobers street


Caught on Campus

LTC faces impending lawsuit

By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

The London Transit Commission is facing a lawsuit from a construction worker who was hit by a bus while installing windows to Western's newest residence.

John Gutkind, 36, of Stouffville, Ontario said he fell out of a cherry-picker-type crane after it was struck by an LTC bus as he performed the finishing touches to Elgin Hall on University Drive, Aug. 26.

Falling approximately 10 feet to the ground, he sustained several injuries including a cracked shoulder and tibia, muscle tissue damage, as well as internal bleeding, facial cuts and scrapes.

Gutkind said he saw the bus coming and expected it to swerve out of the way. "I watched him the whole entire time and I tried swinging out of the way at the last second," he said. "Everyone was yelling at [the bus driver]."

Gutkind said if the bucket of the crane had been a foot higher, it would have narrowly missed being hit.

"I wound up sliding underneath a mini-van," Gutkind explained, adding while he remains in a leg-brace and wheelchair, he was recuperating well and expects to make a full recovery. He said he still found it difficult to recall what happened after he was struck by the bus.

"I figure the driver is kind of stupid. This accident should never have happened," he said.

Gutkind was taken to the London Health Sciences Centre, where he spent five days before heading back home to Stouffville. He said he expects to be unable to work for at least six weeks.

Last week, the LTC received a notice of intent to sue from Gutkind's lawyer. A formal lawsuit has yet to be filed.

Larry Ducharme, general manager for the LTC, said since the LTC was facing the prospect of a lawsuit, he could only confirm the name of the bus driver as John Gillespie.

Ducharme also said while there were passengers on the bus, no one on board was injured. He added the LTC was awaiting word from Gutkind's lawyer on when and if the lawsuit will take place.

Insp. Bob Earle of the University Police Department explained the bucket of the crane was initially four or five feet above the ground, but as Gutkind tried to avoid the bus it rose to approximately 10 feet when it was struck. He added because the incident occurred on private property, the police can not lay charges under the Highway Traffic Act.

Earle said the London Police has since taken over the investigation and accident re-construction experts are still trying to piece together the events of the incident.

Tracey Frizzell, spokesperson for the police, confirmed no charges have been laid at this point and investigators are still working on the case. "It doesn't appear that charges will be laid," she said, stating how University Drive is not considered a highway under the Highway Traffic Act, preventing them from taking legal action.

Frizzell added that until the investigation is concluded, possible charges such as dangerous or impaired driving are not out of the question.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999