Judge sends case against driver in crash that killed 3 in Moncton to trial

·2 min read
Three people died after a single-vehicle crash on Highway 2 near Moncton in September 2019. (Wade Perry/Twitter - image credit)
Three people died after a single-vehicle crash on Highway 2 near Moncton in September 2019. (Wade Perry/Twitter - image credit)

The case against a man accused of dangerous driving causing the deaths of three college students in a Moncton highway crash has been committed to trial.

After several days of preliminary hearings, provincial court Judge Camille Vautour found the prosecution has enough evidence to move ahead to trial by jury. This decision does not mean the evidence is strong enough to convict, as that's up to the jury to decide.

Saumil Prashantkumar Shah is facing six charges, three of dangerous driving causing death and three of causing death by criminal negligence.

He was charged after the vehicle he was driving crashed in Moncton in September 2019. Two people died at the scene, and another died in hospital.

Defence lawyer Nathan Gorham said the reasons the judge committed the case to trial are under publication ban. He said trial dates have not been set yet.

"The next steps are [Shah] will appear in the in the Court of Queen's Bench. He will enter his not guilty plea and a date for trial will be set," he said.

September, 2019 crash

The charges stem from a crash on the Trans-Canada Highway in Moncton near the Shediac Road exit around 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2019.

A Subaru Outback heading east on the divided highway rolled and landed in the median, RCMP said after the crash.

The five people in the vehicle were all citizens of India, Amit Tamrakar, president of the Indo-Canadian Society of Saint John, told CBC News after the crash.

Four were students at the New Brunswick Community College campus in Saint John, and Shah, the driver, was described at the time as working at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John and is a permanent resident.

RCMP said two men, ages 24 years old, and a third, 29, were all ejected from rear seats during the crash. Two died at the scene, while a third died in hospital. A passenger in the front seat survived.

RCMP in a news release said the preliminary investigation indicated speed may have been a factor in the crash.

Tamrakar said earlier that the five had just visited Magnetic Hill and were on their way to Parlee Beach when the crash happened.