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Guilty plea expected from driver involved in major Goldstream River fuel spill

Mar 08 2012

The driver of a Columbia Fuels tanker truck that crashed on the Malahat, spilling 42,000 litres of gasoline into Goldstream River last April intends to enter a guilty plea at his next court appearance, defence lawyer Dale Marshall told Western Communities provincial court Thursday.

James Allan Charles Smith, 34, is charged with impaired driving, driving with a blood-alcohol level over 80 milligrams and dangerous driving.

“It will be resolved by way of a plea to one of the counts,” said Marshall. “Discussions are still ongoing.”

Smith’s next court appearance is scheduled for April 11 at 9:30 a.m.

“I expect he will be sentenced that day, unless Crown asks for a pre-sentence report,” said Marshall.

The Malahat was closed for six hours after the tanker slammed into a rock wall and flipped, spilling gasoline and 650 litres of diesel. In July, Columbia Fuels confirmed Smith had been let go.

Fears that the spill would ruin the famous Goldstream salmon run were allayed when thousands of chum arrived in the fall.

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