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2013-12-19 at NOON

Inquest Day 2

By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
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Warning: Story may contain graphic details not suitable for all readers.

It was an emotional morning of testimony as the man who drove the truck that fatality struck Lee Antoniak took the stand.

The inquest into the death of 31-year-old Antoniak who died April 9, 2012 at a construction site at the former Thunder Bay Country Club continued Thursday morning.

Cary Kachur, 51, broke down in tears as he recounted the events that led to Antoniak's death.

Kachur had worked for LTL Contracting, which had been hired to excavate the site for Design Build's condominium complex, for 12 years prior to the incident first as a pipelayer and then a rock truck driver.

He had worked with Antoniak for about 10 years and the two were colleagues and friends.

Shortly before the incident, Kachur had seen Antoniak walk in front of the truck and they saw each other and nodded.

Before reversing, he beeped his horn then slowly backed up. His backup alarm was also beeping.

It wasn't until he straightened out his wheels, he noticed Antoniak under his tire.

While there are no direct witnesses to what happened, Kachur's theory is Antoniak either tripped on some nearby orange snow fencing and fell under the wheels or the fencing was stuck and Antoniak was trying to pull it free to throw in a nearby BFI bin and fell backwards.

Photos of the scene show the fencing sitting somewhat unraveled near the truck.

Kachur said before the incident, the fencing had been more tightly piled.

The pile of fencing was in Kachur's blind spot when backing up and through testimony Wednesday, it was revealed the crew had decided not to use a signal man that day because most people were in vehicles or operating machinery. There weren't many pedestrians on site. 

Kachur also testified that nothing seemed out of the ordinary with Antoniak that day.

"(He was) the same old Lee," he said.

When asked if there was anything else, he wanted to say, Kachur, through tears, said he was sorry.

Testimony at the inquest concluded Thursday and the jury began deliberating in the afternoon.

The jury is expected to return with recommendations this evening. 

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