LETS REMEMBER ADAM – STOP FOR THE SCHOOL BUS
On the 11th of February, 2000 five year old Adam RANGER arrived at his residence on the school bus at the end of his school week. His brother Alex, who was twelve at the time, accompanied Adam on the bus. The RANGER residence is on Highway 17 East of the Town of Mattawa. The skies were blue and the sun was shining. Visibility was excellent.
After exiting the bus, Garry LAROSE, the bus driver drew Alex’s attention to a truck, which was coming towards the boys and apparently was not going to stop. The truck was driven by John NIKITIN, then 63 years old of Sudbury. NIKITIN had been working in Chaulk River and was on his way home to Sudbury. Adam made a run for home and made it across the roadway and into his driveway before being struck and killed by the one ton truck which was towing a piece of machinery. Little Adam was killed instantly in the collision. The police were subsequently called to the scene and commenced an investigation.
A Technical Traffic Collision Investigator was assigned and immediately commenced his investigation. From the investigation, it was determined that there was no evidence of braking anywhere near the scene. Further, there was a clear view of the full size bus, with all emergency lights flashing, for more than one thousand six hundred and fifty (1650) meters.
Two years of painstaking investigation lead to a decision to pursue Unlawful Act Manslaughter as well as Criminal Negligence Causing Death as charges.
Case law was examined and it was believed that the legal foundation upon which the charges were laid was sound, however no evidence of this type of offence ever being pursued in these circumstances was ever found. The decision was made to continue with the precedent setting prosecution.
The accused elected to have a trial by Judge and Jury which commenced on the 18th of March, 2002.
On the 2nd of April, 2002 the Jury returned with their verdict at approximately 9:20 pm finding John NIKITIN guilty of Manslaughter and Criminal Negligence Causing Death in relation to the death of Adam RANGER. This precedent setting decision is believed to be the first of its kind in Canada.
If this decision makes one driver reconsider his decision to drive through the flashing lights of a school bus, the efforts of all involved have made it safer for all children when exiting or getting onto their school buses.
The accused was sentenced to 22 months house arrest with conditions on his movements and actions. He also was prohibited from driving for ten years. The Crown Attorney appealed the sentence and the Defence appealed the convictions. The appeals went before the Ontario Court of Appeal, which upheld the convictions for Manslaughter and Criminal Negligence Causing Death, but did not change the sentence.
Memorial Song Tribute
After 10 years, students who would have been in the same class as Adam created and dedicated a song to ensure his life and message would live on.