A judge has ruled the driver of a truck that spilled fuel into Lemon Creek in 2013 is responsible for the accident and ensuing pollution. File photo

A judge has ruled the driver of a truck that spilled fuel into Lemon Creek in 2013 is responsible for the accident and ensuing pollution. File photo

Lemon Creek spill: driver guilty, provincial government acquitted

The verdict was reached Thursday in a Nelson court

Danny LaSante has been found guilty of polluting a stream when the fuel truck he was driving went off a forest road and landed in Lemon Creek in 2013.

The provincial government, also charged, was acquitted Thursday in Nelson court.

LaSante’s employer, Executive Flight Centre, was supplying fuel to the provincial government to fight a forest fire at the time.

Judge Lisa Mrozinski ruled that LaSante did not take proper precautions when faced with an unmaintained road and signage to indicate that it was closed.

She also rejected his argument that the case should be dropped because of delays between the charges and the trial.

Charges against Executive Flight Centre were dropped last fall on the basis of such delays, but the company was charged at a much earlier date than was LaSante.

During the trial, which concluded in January, the crown argued that the provincial government did not give LaSante appropriate directions to the fuel staging site. But Mrozinski said there was no compelling evidence that the spill was caused by the government.

The Star will report on Mrozinski’s reasons for judgement in more detail on Friday.