Jury rules Earl Forbes’ death was by misadventure
A Coroner’s Jury returned a verdict
of death by misadventure after hearing evidence on 24 September about the
traffic accident that claimed the life of Earl Lance Forbes, 26.
Mr. Forbes, an immigration
administrative officer, was on his way to work the morning of 30 December,
2008, when his car skidded as he was driving through the roundabout on the
East-West Arterial near Lantern Point Condominiums. Passenger Carla McLaughlin
said they had driven from Frank Sound by way of the Spotts Straight. She told
Queen’s Coroner Margaret Ramsay-Hale and the jury that there was a light rain.
When the car started to skid Mr. Forbes tried to correct it, but “the car lost
control” and she remembered it flipping a couple of times. She blacked out, and
when she came to, someone helped her out of the car.
Vincent Walters, an accident
reconstructionist, said when he arrived at the scene, saw a male upside-down in
the vehicle, which had come to rest on its roof. He said multiple tyre marks
showed where the vehicle started to skid and how it rotated before leaving the
road. The right rear tyre made contact with a curb wall. Momentum caused the car
to flip, he explained, because the lower section could not keep going, but the
upper section was still moving.
Mr. Walters confirmed that the wet
road was a contributing factor because traction was not as good as when the
road was dry, but the skidding came from harsh acceleration. “If you are
delicate with your acceleration, you will not skid,” he said. Measuring the
skid marks and the smoothness of the road, Mr. Walters calculated the car’s
speed at 59.62 miles per hour. The area is a 40-mph zone.
Government pathologist Shavana
Jyoti assisted the jury in understanding the autopsy report prepared by Dr.
Cheryl Reichert. The primary cause of death was massive accumulation of fluid
in the lungs, with the secondary cause severe trauma injury to the skull. Dr.
Reichert said this was only the second such case she had seen.
Mr. Jyoti explained that a blow to
the head can release a large amount of stress-related hormones, and this sudden
release can stop the heart. It can also cause changes in the lungs, with accumulation
of fluid resulting within a few seconds.
The injury to Mr. Forbes’ chest was
not sufficient to cause this fluid accumulation, the pathologist said. Mr.
Forbes was overweight and had an enlarged heart, but these factors did not
contribute to his death.