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Dump truck driver charged in death of Sault woman given one more chance to hire lawyer

Maria Gagliardi was killed in May 2021 and a dump truck driver is facing a charge of careless driving causing death
A cross and flowers at the corner of Second Line West and Brunswick Avenue, where Maria Gagliardi died after being struck by a dump truck on May 27, 2021. Inset photo: obituary photo of Maria Gagliardi.

A dump truck driver accused of careless driving causing the death of a Sault Ste. Marie woman has been given one more opportunity by the provincial offences court to hire a lawyer before setting a date for trial.

Charles 'Chuck' McMillan, 60, is facing one charge of careless driving causing death in the May 27, 2021 incident. At the time, police called it a hit-and-run but after an investigation McMillan was not charged criminally.

Public court documents obtained by SooToday reveal that Maria Gagliardi was the pedestrian killed last year on Second Line West.

Gagliardi was 51 years old when she was struck by a dump truck and died at the scene.

At the time, the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service said an investigation into the collision determined Gagliardi was walking in the Second Line West and Brunswick Avenue area when she was struck and killed by a dump truck, which was travelling south on Brunswick and turning west on Second Line.

Today, a cross and flowers mark the corner where Gagliardi died.

Attending court virtually on Wednesday, McMillan was accompanied on the line by a woman who did not identify herself.

She told the justice of the peace, Joseph André Guitard, that there is a reason McMillan has not yet hired a lawyer.

"He hasn’t been able to get any money because he hasn’t worked for a year," the woman said.

That seems to contradict what the Ontario Provincial Police reported last month, when it laid multiple new charges against McMillan in connection with a July 22 crash on Highway 17.

That morning, police say McMillan was behind the wheel of a dump truck that struck and seriously damaged an S&T Group work van near Noonday Road, sending the driver of the van to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

For that incident, McMillan was charged with three offences, including careless driving, driving a commercial vehicle with no licence, and notice of drivers licence suspension for operating a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration above zero. 

His employer, FKM Trucking, was also charged for allowing an unlicenced driver to operate a commercial vehicle. FKM Trucking did not respond to SooToday's original request for comment.

At Wednesday's court appearance on the careless driving causing death charge, the Crown was represented by an articling student, Christopher Thompson, who told Guitard that the Crown's office is requesting a date be set for trial.

“This has been going on for a very long time, this is a very dated file," Thompson told the hearing. "The Crown would like to proceed."

The woman on the line with McMillan said he is waiting for funds from the band office to hire a lawyer.

Guitard asked McMillan if he identified as First Nations.

"Yeah," responded McMillan.

Guitard scheduled the next court date for Nov. 2, noting it was specifically to set a date for trial.

“One way or another your case still has to move forward,” Guitard said to McMillan.

When he was originally charged in the May 27, 2021 incident, Sault Police did not release McMillan's name and did not name Gagliardi as the victim. 

Lincoln Louttit, manager of corporate communications for Sault Ste. Marie Police Service, said the man charged in the 2021 incident was charged with careless driving causing death under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA).

"It is our policy that names of individuals charged under the HTA are not released unless there is a criminal charge associated with the incident," said Louttit.

The Sault Police has a similar policy in place for people charged with provincial offences.

"Their names are not typically released, unless there is an associated criminal charge," said Louttit.

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Kenneth Armstrong

About the Author: Kenneth Armstrong

Kenneth Armstrong is a news reporter and photojournalist who regularly covers municipal government, business and politics and photographs events, sports and features.
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