Early on the evening on Monday, December 19, 2005 I was waiting for my then-girlfriend-now-wife to arrive for supper. I decided to dash across the street to a little convenience store, probably for beer. As I walked out of my apartment building I noticed an unusually high volume of traffic, even for rush-hour, streaming down my street. I soon realized that vehicles were being rerouted down my street.
Looking up the street through the park, the dark sky appeared to be somewhat of an eerie aurora borealis as an inordinate number of emergency vehicles, with flashing red and blue, and several yellow lights lit up the neighbourhood, clearly indicating something was very wrong.
Being curious I altered my direction and walked up through the park to get an idea of what had happened. Nearing the street that borders the park it was evident there had been an accident. Not a fender-bender sort of affair that is more annoyance that danger, but something major. It was only later that I would learn of the tragedy of Jessica Holman-Price who in the process of saving her little brother from slipping under a snow removal truck lost her footing and fell to her death under the large vehicle herself.
Now eleven years later her mother Jeannette Holman-Price, still grieves, but also is taking action. Jessica’s death was preventable; the installation of sideguards on heavy trucks would essentially remove the possibility of anyone slipping under them. To that end she has initiated The Jessica Campaign in an effort to avert any future accidents. The city of Westmount, where the accident occurred, has equipped its trucks with sideguards, but many contractors and the city of Montreal are more reluctant. According to Jeannette they prefer to wait for the province to make sideguards mandatory before requiring snow removal contractors to have them in order to be eligible to bid on city contracts.
Nonsense; it is unacceptable for governments to pass the buck up or down the ladder. All vehicles that can be fitted with sideguards should be altered, regardless of which level of government decrees what. The time for sideguards is now, if not eleven years ago.