Welland man charged in fiery fatal car crash

police car on road
Police closed down Webber Road westward from South Pelham to Murdoch Street after two-car collision on Monday, October 26.  Dominique Lalama/Toronto Observer

Two-car collision results in death, arrest 

A Welland man has been charged following a fatal collision on Webber Road on Monday. 

The Niagara Regional Police Service said emergency crews were called to the intersection of Webber Road and Murdoch Road around 7 a.m. on Monday morning regarding a two-car collision. 

The collision left one of the cars overturned in a ditch, engulfed in flames, with the driver trapped inside. 

Police closed down Webber Road westward from South Pelham to Murdorch Street after two-car collision on Monday, October 26.

Photo by: Dominique Lalama

When emergency services arrived at the scene, they found members of the public attempting to rescue the man from his burning car, which was in flames for a total of more than 15 minutes. 

Const. Philip Gavin said many facets of the emergency services department were called to respond to the serious crash.  

“The NRPS had three-four uniform[ed] officers initially respond to the scene,” Gavin said via email correspondence on Wednesday. “Subsequently, members of our Traffic Enforcement Unit, Collision Reconstruction Unit and Forensic Services Unit attended.” 

Twenty firefighters also responded to the scene, according to Adam Eckhart, acting Chief of the Welland Fire and Emergency Services.

Despite the timely response and extreme efforts of the officers and the members of the public, the fire proved to be too strong to allow for a successful rescue. 

“Officers also tried to rescue the trapped man, but were unable to due to the intense flames,” the police said. “The man died at the scene.”

The deceased, whose identity is being withheld by police out of respect for his family, was a 39-year-old resident of Welland. 

Stephen Bangsund-Salter, 30, was arrested at the scene and is facing charges of dangerous operation causing death. Further information about a court appearance or bail hearing is unavailable, as the court has issued a publication ban that restricts the publishing of any evidence or information. 

Joe Rotella lives down the street from the scene of the accident and heard the commotion on Monday morning. Though he was shocked that a collision of this magnitude could take place so close to his home, he noted that he has seen patterns of dangerous driving developing in his area recently. 

“The road I live on has been getting busier and busier every year; my family and I have had a lot of near misses while driving,” Rotella said on Friday. “There have been numerous accidents near my home, but nothing like this.” 

Rotella, a former nurse,  praised the emergency services for their efforts but expressed fear at the intensity of the collision and the inability to save the victim. 

“The collision does make me feel less safe driving in Welland,” he said.  

The collision is still under investigation by detectives from the Collision Reconstruction Unit. 

Anyone with information should contact NRPS detectives at 905-688-4111, extension 9265 or by email at [email protected]

About this article

Posted: Oct 26 2020 7:56 pm
Filed under: News