Video causes grief for acquitted driver
LONDON, ONT. - The truck driver who wants to sue police over a video he says defames him is carrying more legal cargo than he's been admitting.
Terry DeMerchant, 38, was driving the transport truck that started a chain-reaction crash involving four other vehicles on Hwy. 401 that killed OPP Sgt. Marg Eve on June 7, 2000.
He said a safety video designed to remind motorists to slow down and pull over when emergency vehicles are on the side of the road depicts him as being at fault for the crash that killed Eve.
DeMerchant faced five criminal charges, but was acquitted of all of them by a Superior Court justice.
He told QMI Agency Thursday that he can't cross the American border because of those charges, even though he wasn't convicted.
DeMerchant also stressed that his driving record was clean before the crash and has been since.
Court records show DeMerchant's driver's licence is suspended and he's racked up about $3,000 in unpaid fines from traffic infractions across the province over the past 12 years.
Since 2000, he has been fined more than 15 times for such charges as failing to surrender his driver's licence and insurance papers, making multiple false statements, and driving a commercial vehicle that didn't meet provincial regulations.
Those court records indicate he was cited for driving a commercial vehicle not in accordance with regulations on May 30, 2000, eight days before the fatal crash.
He was also charged with making a false statement that day. On June 1, he was slapped with two more.
There were three more provincial offences issued June 4, including one for keeping more than one daily log, and there were two more on June 7, the day of the crash.
There were numerous others in 2007, including multiple instances of failing to surrender his driver's licence.
DeMerchant lives in British Columbia. He's using the website gofundme.com to raise money for a lawyer to sue police, and said all of the charges from 2000 were made up by police as revenge for the crash that killed Eve.
"I've never been stopped in a truck with anything wrong with it," he said.
"If there's something there...it's not true. It's totally fabricated. I had a perfectly clean record up until the time of the accident. And now all of a sudden I have all these tickets? Does that make sense?"
DeMerchant said he's aware of one ticket from Niagara Falls that he hasn't paid. The rest of the $3,000 is also part of the police "vendetta," he said.
"It sounds like something they would do because they're mad, sure."
An OPP spokesperson was unavailable for comment.