News / Calgary

Father of Calgary toddler killed in crash calls for better snow-clearing

A grieving Calgary father says better snow-removal efforts may have spared the life of his "incredible" son, who died in a crash on Glenmore Trail last week.

Chris Bertrand said he's personally travelled to the site where his wife's Dodge Ram truck went off the road, over a centre median and into the path of an oncoming transport truck Wednesday afternoon.

His youngest son, 18-month-old Travis Bertrand, was rushed to hospital but later pronounced dead.

His older boy Zack's pelvis was broken in two spots and the three-year-old suffered bruising on his face but is expected to make a full recovery. Wife Francina, who Chris says has said she was driving under the speed limit at the time, suffered bruising in numerous areas, but he says her emotional strain may be far more severe.

"It's like a little piece of her died that day with Travis," Chris told Metro Sunday.

Chris said his theory is that snow packed against the median on eastbound Glenmore acted as a "launchpad" when the truck hit it. He said his wife was trying to make a simple lane change to avoid the off-ramp to Deerfoot Trail when she hit a slippery patch on the road.

"She couldn't over-correct fast enough, it was just too quick," he said.

Chris said he's lived in Calgary his entire life and believes snow-removal practices have slacked off in recent years.

"Unfortunately, the city just can't respond accurately and fast enough — those roads were horrible for 10-12 days," he said. "I don't know if the budget's too small or the manpower's not there or if it's lacking equipment-wise."

He's not alone in his criticism, as many suburb-dwelling residents have taken to social media and the city's 311 line in recent weeks to file complaints after not being able to leave their communities for days following heavy dumps of snow.

Even Mayor Naheed Nenshi and several fellow city council members questioned why officials hadn't spent more of their snow-clearing budget in the wake of what Environment Canada has said is the snowiest start to December in 112 years.

Police, meanwhile, said Thursday they were still looking into the cause of the crash, but did not rule out the snow piled along Glenmore as a factor.

Chris, meanwhile, said he's trying to focus on the things he loved about his son, who would "light up like Christmas morning," when he arrived home from work.

"He was too perfect for this world and the world wasn't ready, so he only came for a visit," Chris said. "That's it, that's the easiest way to put it."

Funeral arrangements for Travis are still being finalized.

Zack, meanwhile, may be released from hospital before Christmas. Napa Auto Parts in Cochrane, where Chris works, has been fundraising for the youngster in hopes of putting some presents under the Christmas tree. For more information, call 403-932-0999.

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