Man leaves car idling, two die

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Agent 204 Agent 204's picture
Man leaves car idling, two die

Quote:

The stolen van involved in Wednesday night's fatal collision was unlocked and running when it was taken by thieves at a downtown Winnipeg burger joint, sources said yesterday.

The owner left the keys in the ignition of the 1993 Plymouth Voyager while he was ordering a burger and fries at V.J.'s Drive-In on Tuesday around 9 p.m., sources and restaurant staff said.

"We were just chit-chatting and then he went outside and came back in and said, 'Where's my van?'" said cook John Calegoris. "It was just a matter of minutes. I was like, 'Oh my goodness.'"

Source. Obviously the thieves have a greater degree of responsibility for the deaths of those women, but the van onwer wasn't innocent either. I've been tempted to print up signs that say "FREE CAR" and leave them on the windshields of vehicles that people leave idling, though I wonder if you could be charged with mischief for that.

Michelle

You're kidding.  You think the man who left his keys in the car is responsible for the deaths of those women in any way, shape, or form?

Sorry, but even if I leave my house door wide open, that is not an invitation for people to walk in and rob me.  If it's not yours, you don't take it, and if you do take it, whatever happens during your robbery is YOUR fault, not the fault of the person you robbed. 

Michelle

P.S. Your thread title is inaccurate.  The story didn't say he left the van idling.  It said he left his keys in the ignition.  I know a number of people who live in small towns and do that all the time.

Unionist

I agree with Michelle, with maybe one or two exceptions. If I leave my loaded registered firearm sitting somewhere for a few minutes and someone gets killed on purpose or by accident, I'd like to be locked up for a disturbingly long time.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Here on the coast where there are no connecting roads folks usually leave their homes unlocked, but usually not in the winter when folks can get from place to place by skidoo. Someone walked into my house a few days ago while I was sleeping and walked away with some expensive prescription medication of mine. I'm locking the house now. Frown

Michelle

Okay, yes, Unionist, I agree with that.  But let's not attract the gun nuts to this thread, okay?  Kind of off-topic... :)

remind remind's picture

From the article's first sentence:

"The stolen van involved in Wednesday night's fatal collision was unlocked and running when it was taken by thieves"

___________________________________________________________ "watching the tide roll away"

Unionist

Michelle wrote:
But let's not attract the gun nuts to this thread, okay?  Kind of off-topic... :)

Too late... What do you call someone who brandishes the nickname "Boom Boom"? Laughing

Agent 204 Agent 204's picture

Unionist wrote:
I agree with Michelle, with maybe one or two exceptions. If I leave my loaded registered firearm sitting somewhere for a few minutes and someone gets killed on purpose or by accident, I'd like to be locked up for a disturbingly long time.

That's kind of my point. In each case, it's allowing a dangerous item to fall into the wrong hands. Of course a gun is probably more likely to lead to death, but then that's why careless storage of a firearm is a criminal offence, while leaving keys in an unattended vehicle is a Highway Traffic Act offence.

And no, I'm not saying the guy should be hanged, or jailed, or even made to repay MPI for the death benefits paid to the families of the victims; just that I see responsibility is a continuum, not an all or nothing affair. And needless to say, the thieves are much further along the continuum than the car owner.

I have a feeling that part of the reason a lot of people react differently to the situation with a car vs. a gun is that many people see the car situation as a mistake that they or someone close to them could make, whereas the gun situation seems different because they don't have a gun and couldn't make the same mistake.

Besides, I think we all know that idling is bad even if you don't factor in the potential danger to the public from something like this.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Unionist wrote:

Too late... What do you call someone who brandishes the nickname "Boom Boom"? Laughing

I stole my nick from this guy:

Bernie Geoffrion, nicknamed "Boom Boom," gained NHL fame for his hard shot and feisty temperament. Innocent

Michelle

Oh...I'm an idiot.  Thanks, remind! :)  <-- sheepish smiley

Anyhow, even so...doesn't mean anyone is allowed to just go ahead and take it!

triciamarie

Wasn't Boom Boom Geoffrion the originator of the slap shot, or credited with it? And long before the advent of goalie masks????

Anyway, like you, Michelle, I grew up almost never seeing a door locked, and it's still something I often forget to do. However I agree with Agent 204. The thief was primarily responsible, but the van owner was the one who left the van open and running when it was "reasonably foreseeable" (as the expression goes) that the vehicle could be stolen and, once stolen, driven dangerously. He set the chain of events in motion. That's a tort and I believe he would be liable along with the thief.

I guess that's maybe part of the reason why around here anyway, we now have cops patrolling parking lots and issuing reminders to people who leave their cars open.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

triciamarie wrote:

Wasn't Boom Boom Geoffrion the originator of the slap shot, or credited with it? And long before the advent of goalie masks????

 

 He's generally credited with the slap shot and before helmets became the rule. I remember someone saying BB's slap shot was so powerful folks were afraid of getting in front of it.

verbatim

"That's a tort and I believe he would be liable along with the thief."

I would be interested to see the submissions on this point.  I think it's highly arguable as to whether it's reasonably foreseeable that leaving your car running in a parking lot could lead to the injury or death of a person elsewhere.  It might be reasonably foreseeable that someone will steal your car in such a situation, but I think that's where forseeability ends. The alternative is to encourage a world where we are held increasingly responsible for the acts of others over whom we exercise no control.  The driver was certainly not prudent in leaving the vehicle in an easy-to-steal condition, but his responsiblity ends there.  Keep in mind that liability in civil damages are actually zero-sum -- if you're going to acknowledge that the owner is partially responsible, that means that the person who actually killed someone enjoys that much less financial responsibility.

It's pretty well known, in our private-property and personal-rights-based society, that consent must be expressly communicated before you can make use of someone else's property.  The fact that thieves are unlikely to respect your rights does not and should not shift the burden of their theft back onto you.  This would be perverse, and when people believe it, leads to a race-to-the-bottom world of hyper-security paranoia.

A not-identical but similar situation is this: how responsible is a person for other crimes, like personal trespass?  At what point is someone "asking for it"?  Sure, maybe it's unwise to whoop it up in the GM Place parking-lot after the Canucks have lost their 8th straight game, but does that lack of wisdom mean you should actually share the blame for your subsequent beating?  What's more important here: to protect the right of people to express their particular loyalties, or to allow people to indulge their violent tendencies?

Agent 204 Agent 204's picture

There is a difference, though; in Manitoba at least you are required by law to remove the keys when you park:

Quote:
Requirements on leaving vehicle

221(1)      Subject to subsection (4), no driver shall, without reasonable justification, permit a motor vehicle to stand unattended on a highway or park it on a highway without first having

(a) stopped the engine;

(b) locked the ignition; and

(c) removed the key.

 

...

Offences on parking lots

236(1)      Notwithstanding section 74, any person who operates a motor vehicle in any place designed and intended, and primarily used, for the parking of vehicles, including the necessary passageways thereon, has the same rights and duties, and is subject to the same penalties provided for a violation of any provision of this Act, as a person operating a motor vehicle upon a highway.

Highway Traffic Act. Whether the guy should be liable for anything beyond the maximum penalty for this offense is debatable, mind you.

And I have heard that in Ontario, the insurance companies won't compensate you for loss or damage resulting from leaving a car unattended with the key in it (presumably this is to discourage people who want to get rid of a car for more than a scrapyard would pay for it from doing this to encourage theft). I can't confirm the truth of this, though, nor do I know if the lack of coverage extends to liability.

 

jas

I agree with Verbatim's argument. A car is not a gun. He can be fined for leaving his vehicle running in a parking lot (and should be), but not for any recklessness that was caused by someone stealing it. Otherwise you're getting into the "he/she's asking for it" argument that is used against women who are sexually assaulted because they wear certain types of fashions and walk down a dark street. It was the thief's choice to steal and the thief's bad driving that killed the other people.

Agent 204 Agent 204's picture

Well, by that logic, perhaps if he'd left a gun where it could be taken, he should be charged with careless storage of a firearm, but not face any liability for what happened subsequently? That might be reasonable, but I suspect that someone who suffered as a result would want to have some recourse, especially if the person who stole the gun had few assets.

And apart from social acceptability, why look at cars and guns differently? Both are dangerous tools.

Unionist

Agent, we don't punish people for actions beyond their control. I think there should be very heavy penalties for leaving a gun lying around - and there may be a good argument to drastically increase the penalties for leaving your car ready to steal. But the courts can't increase the penalty based on what happened afterwards. That's almost a definition of "injustice".

Agent 204 Agent 204's picture

Are you restricting that to criminal proceedings? Because if so, I agree with you. But what about civil liability? If I'm disabled because someone carelessly leaves a dangerous object around and it gets stolen, are you suggesting that the thief is the only person I should be able to sue?

jas

I guess the difference I see is that although cars can kill, they are not designed for that purpose. Guns are. So to say they are both dangerous tools is inaccurate. A sharpened pencil can also be a dangerous tool. Perhaps we shouldn't leave them lying around in public places because it might tempt someone to stab someone. Large rocks can be dangerous tools, as can rakes, baseball bats, and garden shears. Where will you draw the line? The purpose of a locking car door and an immobilizer is to reduce theft and insurance costs from theft, not to reduce deaths by reckless driving. 

 

Snert Snert's picture

IANAL, but I believe that tort law requires some reasonable forseeability before assigning culpability.  In short, if the person who left their vehicle unattended could not, reasonably, have forseen that it would be stolen AND driven recklessly AND result in a death, they can't really be held responsible for it.

Every event in our lives is part of a web of events.  If I slip and fall on the icy sidewalk outside of your house, that wouldn't have happened if you'd shovelled or salted it, but it also wouldn't have happened if the city hadn't put a sidewalk there, if someone hadn't sold the city the cement to do so, etc.  In that example, you as a homeowner can reasonably forsee someone slipping on your sidewalk, but that's about as far down the chain as culpability can plausibly go. 

Unionist

Agent 204 wrote:

Are you restricting that to criminal proceedings? Because if so, I agree with you. But what about civil liability? If I'm disabled because someone carelessly leaves a dangerous object around and it gets stolen, are you suggesting that the thief is the only person I should be able to sue?

I don't know, Agent 204. If I invite you over to my house, and there was a kid's toy left sitting on the steps, and you fell and broke your neck and lost earning power for the next 30 years, I don't think I should owe you millions of dollars. I think the liability should be proportional to the nature of the fault and reasonable foreseeability, as Snert said.

In short, if someone leaves a loaded gun lying around, I would support a prison term - whether anyone gets hurt or killed or not. If someone leaves their keys in the car and the doors unlocked, perhaps a licence suspension would be in order. The punishment must fit the crime - not the specific consequences that ensued afterwards.

triciamarie

I'm a community legal worker not a lawyer, so this isn't my area, but the information in this thread suggests that leaving the vehicle running and unattended is an offence under the Highway Traffic Act. So what is the purpose of that statutory provision? Arguably it is to prevent exactly this kind of scenario.

Theft of an open, running vehicle is a crime of opportunity. A reasonable person (or anyone who's ever watched Cops) could anticipate that stolen vehicles are often if not usually driven dangerously, at times resulting in injury. Stolen vehicles are also used to commit other crimes. Police have to expend resources dealing with these crimes. All of these undesireable consequences could be prevented simply by turning off the ignition and removing the key -- especially when you're parked outside a burger joint in downtown Winnipeg. This owner also didn't bother to lock the door.

So why wouldn't the owner also be liable in tort?

Here is the case I was looking at. Looks like it's still standing although it was distinguished in a couple of Alberta cases in 2002.

Quote:
Kalogeropoulos v. Ottawa (City)

DRS 97-11508[1996] O.J. No. 3449Court File No. 66914/92Ontario Court of Justice (General Division)G. Morin J.October 3, 1996.(46 pp.)Torts — Negligence — Causation — Successive or consecutive causes — Foreseeability — Motor vehicle, general.

Action by Kalogeropoulos, his wife and children, for damages arising out of a motor vehicle accident. The plaintiff, a taxi driver, was stopped at a traffic light, when hit by a city vehicle driven by the defendant Demers. A few minutes earlier, another city truck had been stolen by the defendant Ignatiev, and Demers was chasing him. Ignatiev had been returning from Hull after a heavy bout of drinking. He was kicked out of a taxi, and since it was cold he decided to take a parked truck which he saw on the street. The defendant Moore was the normal driver of the truck, which was unlocked and idling. Other employees at an all-night cafe saw the truck being stolen, and went off in pursuit at high speed. Ignatiev hit traffic islands, crashed the truck, and then fled on foot. Demers, in pursuit, smashed the plaintiff's vehicle. The plaintiff had been involved in an accident three years previously, but at the time of the second accident, he was completely recovered. After the second accident, he had a serious knee injury, his personality changed, he became depressed, suffered pain and was unable to work. In addition to the pain he was still suffering, he had a serious stroke in 1995, which completely debilitated him.

HELD: Judgment for plaintiffs in the amount of $92,500 general damages in total, plus $9,228 loss of income against the defendants Ignatiev, Moore, and the City of Ottawa. Clearly, the defendant Ignatiev was responsible for the plaintiffs' damages. Moore left his truck running, and the doors unlocked. It was reasonably foreseeable that someone would steal the truck, and that, once stolen, the truck would be operated in a negligent fashion. Moore as well as his employer, the City of Ottawa, were therefore liable for creating the chain of events that led to the collision. The plaintiff was 52 years old, with a wife and two grown children. He was now almost completely incapacitated, which was mostly due to the stroke, unconnected to the accident. Just prior to the stroke he still suffered from his knee injury, pain and dizziness, and was unable to work. The plaintiff was awarded $60,000 general damages, and $9,228 for loss of income. His wife was awarded $15,000 for her Family Law Act claim, his daughter $7,500, and his son $10,000.

Statutes, Regulations and Rules Cited:

By-law of the City of Ottawa 105-77, ss. 2, 3.
Family Law Act, s. 61.
Highway Traffic Act, ss. 1(1), 191(1), 192(1), 193(3)
Insurance Act, s. 266.

Snert Snert's picture

It fails to mention the culpability of the truck manufacturer.

Surely whatever company manufactured that truck should have forseen the possibility that it could be left idling, be stolen, be driven recklessly, and be chased by another truck which could (and did!) hit someone.

When I first read this, I thought that the man who stole the unlocked truck was the one who collided with the plaintiff, but in fact it was someone else, following the thief.  In order to have reasonably forseen this outcome, the driver of the truck would have had to forsee not only that it would be stolen, and driven recklessly, but also that someone else would follow the thief and hit someone!   

I don't really think that's reasonable.  Does anyone here think to themself "I better lock my car, in case someone steals it, then SOMEONE ELSE might chase them and hit someone!".

"For want of a nail, the shoe is lost.  For want of a shoe, the horse is lost..."  

Unionist

And if someone steals my unlocked car and uses it in a car bombing, am I liable for the lives and property lost?

If the answer under Canadian law is "yes", then the law is an ass.

 

Agent 204 Agent 204's picture

Snert wrote:

It fails to mention the culpability of the truck manufacturer.

Surely whatever company manufactured that truck should have forseen the possibility that it could be left idling, be stolen, be driven recklessly, and be chased by another truck which could (and did!) hit someone.

That might be going too far, but if, on the other hand, the truck had a faulty design that made it easy to steal if the owner acted correctly and took the key out, there might well be grounds for holding the manufacturer liable if this happened. This is less of a problem in Manitoba than it used to be, BTW, not because of lawsuits but because MPI now requires vehicles that are easily stolen to be equipped with immobilizers. The van involved in the case described in the OP was equipped with one, and would have been very hard to steal if the owner had had the sense to take the key with him.

Quote:
When I first read this, I thought that the man who stole the unlocked truck was the one who collided with the plaintiff, but in fact it was someone else, following the thief.  In order to have reasonably forseen this outcome, the driver of the truck would have had to forsee not only that it would be stolen, and driven recklessly, but also that someone else would follow the thief and hit someone!

Actually, once the vehicle is stolen and driven recklessly, the danger is present, so the details may not be significant. After all, consider a situation in which you, as the owner of a car, drive recklessly. You'd be held liable if you hit someone, but you'd be equally liable if you forced someone to swerve, thus causing them to hit a third party. So if you're liable for allowing a car to be stolen and hit someone, why should it mitigate your liability if you allow it to be stolen and cause another car to hit someone?

remind remind's picture

The people following the stolen car are the culprits here IMV.

Agent 204 Agent 204's picture

Well, the original thief, the pursuers, and the person who left the truck idling all have varying degrees of culpability, but yeah, that's a good point. If you try to play hero and end up endangering others, you need a bit of a slap too.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
So if you're liable for allowing a car to be stolen and hit someone, why should it mitigate your liability if you allow it to be stolen and cause another car to hit someone?

But neither the man who stole the vehicle, nor the man who left it unlocked, "made" the man who decided to pursue the truck do so.  That was 100% his personal choice.  I could see it differently if he were a police officer, and therefore mandated to give chase, but this guy didn't have to, and should have been solely responsible for whatever damage his choice caused. 

ennir

If I left a car unlocked and idling and someone took it and killed somebody I would feel some responsibility for their death regardless of legal consequences. 

Wouldn't you?

I live in Winnipeg and car thefts are a major problem here, leaving a car running is an invitation to theft.  This is not news. 

I wonder if the driver of that vehicle feels the price paid for his convenience was worth it. 

 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Wouldn't you?

No, I'd feel like another victim of the same criminal.  As Michelle rightly notes above, "even if I leave my house door wide open, that is not an invitation for people to walk in and rob me."

Quote:
leaving a car running is an invitation to theft. 

No, it's not. 

It may make it easier for a car theif, just as a woman walking alone might make it easier for a rapist, but you really need to give your head a shake if you've somehow internalized the idea that you're responsible for criminals victimizing you.    

Quote:
I wonder if the driver of that vehicle feels the price paid for his convenience was worth it. 

I wonder if the vigilante who chose to give chase, and who was 100% responsible for the collision, felt like he'd done the right thing?

That said, I still haven't seen anything that somehow links the idling vehicle with the vigilante.  Is it just a given, and should it be, that if you leave property unattended you're not only responsible for what someone does with that property (including STEALING IT FROM YOU) but also responsible for what third party bystanders choose to do??

Good thing that vigilante-boy didn't whip out a gun and start shooting people wildly.  I'd hate for the guy who caused that by leaving his vehicle for a moment to have to live with the guilt of knowing that by leaving his vehicle for a moment, he forced a vigilante to shoot people.  But that's where your "logic" leads. 

 

 

 

 

ennir

What I am saying is that we are connected and our actions, all of our actions, have consequences.

I am aware that car theft is a problem and I do not want to lose my vehicle or have it involved in a tragedy, from my perspective obviously I am not responsible if someone steals my car when it is locked but if I know that car theft is a problem and the general public has been informed that they should not leave vehicles idling then if I do so I do so it is my feeling that I have some responsiblity.

It even seems that there is a law in Manitoba to that effect.  That law would appear to recognize that the public must take responsiblity for their vehicles because these days they are as effective as loaded guns at killing people.

"That said, I still haven't seen anything that somehow links the idling vehicle with the vigilante.  Is it just a given, and should it be, that if you leave property unattended you're not only responsible for what someone does with that property (including STEALING IT FROM YOU) but also responsible for what third party bystanders choose to do??"

My remarks were specific to the Winnipeg deaths.

I am not talking about legal responsilibity.

"It may make it easier for a car theif, just as a woman walking alone might make it easier for a rapist, but you really need to give your head a shake if you've somehow internalized the idea that you're responsible for criminals victimizing you. "

I can't be bothered to spend my time denying the reality of the world that I live in, of course the person who had their car stolen is a victim but a victim with responsiblity, if they had taken the time to lock the car it is quite likely that two people would be alive today.

As to the vigilante, lol, no not so far but for me this is not about logic, it is about my heartfelt emotion that if I was the driver of that vehicle then I would feel badly that I had put my convenience before the safety and well being of my community.

While I realize I am new to this board and perhaps my last comment seemed snarky it was not my intention. 

 

 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
obviously I am not responsible if someone steals my car when it is locked but if I know that car theft is a problem and the general public has been informed that they should not leave vehicles idling then if I do so I do so it is my feeling that I have some responsiblity.

Well, I suppose people internalize all kinds of things, but let me say again, if someone steals something of yours, it's not your fault.  Certainly you could do yourself a service by trying to prevent theft, but it's not ever your fault.  It's the fault of someone taking something that they know is not theirs.

But let me give you a for-instance:  a husband asks his wife if he can borrow her car, and then he hits a pedestrian while driving it.

What, if anything, is her culpability.  Assume that the car is registered in her name.

I would say it's not her fault at all.  You?

Quote:
if they had taken the time to lock the car it is quite likely that two people would be alive today.

OR, if some guy hadn't decided to play Deputy.

That, to me, is where the culpability of the truck driver ends.  Was he really supposed to have anticipated the reckless action of some vigilante in chasing the person who stole his truck?  As far as I can see, that's the real cause of these deaths, and it's connected to the truck theft only tangentially.  There's nothing that I can see that made the vigilante give chase other than his own free will. 

 Now we want to penalize someone for contributing to a situation that might make an individual decide to take the law into their own hands, as well as assign blame for anything that happens as a direct result of that individual's decision?

ennir

I agree, not my fault, but taking responsiblity is not about fault it is about owning my piece in the consequences.

There is a great difference between lending a vehicle to someone, I have a choice about that,  and leaving a vehicle running unattended to be taken by someone I would never lend it to.

As I said, my remarks were about the Winnipeg incident.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
There is a great difference between lending a vehicle to someone, I have a choice about that,  and leaving a vehicle running unattended to be taken by someone I would never lend it to.

So in other words, if you choose to lend a vehicle to someone and they hit someone, it's not your fault, but if they steal that vehicle and give you no choice in the matter, it's your fault?

Wouldn't choosing to lend my vehicle to someone make me MORE culpable than simply choosing not to lock my vehicle??

ennir

As I said, this is not about fault, I never used the word except to agree with you that it would not be my fault.   What I have attempted to talk about is responsibility.

 

Snert Snert's picture

Okay.  How much responsibility would the hypothetical wife have for her husband's driving?   And how is it that if I choose to lend my vehicle to someone I'm more responsible for their actions than if I leave my vehicle unlocked?

Kdrunkin1

Unionist wrote:
I agree with Michelle, with maybe one or two exceptions. If I leave my loaded registered firearm sitting somewhere for a few minutes and someone gets killed on purpose or by accident, I'd like to be locked up for a disturbingly long time.

What is the difference between a registered car and a registered gun? The car or van had gas in it so it was loaded right? Don't try to infer that guns are more dangerous than vehicles cuz I'm sure more people get killed with cars than guns. 

thoughtpolice thoughtpolice's picture

Quote:
I'm sure more people get killed with cars than guns.

Yes but not intentionally.

 

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Call Me Dave!

Unionist

Kdrunkin1 wrote:

Don't try to infer that guns are more dangerous than vehicles cuz I'm sure more people get killed with cars than guns. 

I read somewhere that more people die in hospitals than at the hands of murderers. Did you write that article?

petty petty's picture

Then let's emphasize here on what the topic is trying to show us. It means it's a sort of advise or caution, specifically to people driving.

Btw, this article reminds me a lot of situations about robbing cars, car parts (link to ad deleted by moderator), so we need to be more careful.

 

 

ennir

petty, I am wondering why you provided a link to an advertisement?  How is that relevent to this thread?