Ontario family sues Transport Quebec over deadly 2017 car-crash

A family from Hamilton, Ontario is suing Transport Quebec after a car-crash that killed four people last year.

Carole Downer was travelling back to Hamilton with her family in April 2017 in a rented SUV when they were hit head-on by a car going the wrong way down Highway 30 in Chateauguay.  Carole was killed, and so were all three of the passengers in the oncoming car -- grandparents and a grandchild.  The oncoming car entered the highway by taking the off-ramp to enter the highway by accident.

The surviving members of the Downer family believe that it was poor road signage that was to blame for the accident that killed Carole -- and they believe Quebec officials knew that the road's signage wasn't adequate.

A similar -- and also fatal -- collision happened in almost the exact same spot in the fall of 2015, a year and a half prior to the crash that killed Carole.  Just days after the 2017 crash, improved signage was quietly installed, though the government has maintained that the stretch of Highway 30 is perfectly safe.

However, some residents of the area who spoke with CTV Montreal in the days following last year's accident said the layout of the road, as well as the then-unclear signage and poor lighting, made driving there confusing and potentially unsafe.

"It is not lit up well at all at night, or clearly identified," said Brigitte Brisson in April of last year.  

As well, Chateauguay's then-Mayor Nathalie Simon told CTV that she herself had dealt with a similar experience to the Downer family, albeit one with a very different outcome.  

"I personally have had a face-to-face encounter with me getting out of the autoroute, and a lady trying to get on the autoroute [going] the wrong way..." she said at the time.

A preliminary civil court filing from December indicated that the law firm representing the Downer family was asking for a total of $4 million in damages from Transport Quebec.

The lawyer representing the Downer family was in court today and was unavailable to comment today for the story. A spokeswoman for Transport Quebec was initially unaware of the lawsuit, and has not returned subsequent requests for comment.