“The Public Deserves To Have Answers”. These were the words of David Smosarski in a letter read at a meeting of the Hamilton City Council yesterday. His daughter Olivia had died in a May 5, 2015 crash on the Red Hill Valley Parkway almost two years after a lost 2013 report of Trandewinds Scientific was delivered to the City which described the inferior results of road surface friction testing on the Parkway.
Just as important in Smosarski’s letter were the following words: “To this day my family does not have any answers on why the car my daughter was a passenger in lost control that night”.
While the focus of the news media in Hamilton has been on the loss and subsequent finding of the Tradewinds report, there are broader issues that are relevant. These issues are exemplified by Mr. Smosarski’s words “…my family does not have any answers”. The tragedy of losing a daughter is one thing. But the Smosarski family has been victimized a second time by a system that has made “any answers” about how and why Olivia died very difficult to unravel. Part of the difficulty has been illuminated to the public by the tempest of the lost Tradewinds report. Otherwise the Smosarski family would be no different than many families who have suffered similar circumstances in silence. Their plight, as members of a very small group of citizens, has been of no official concern. Their voices have not been loud or strong enough to affect the future of any politicians. No organizations who are interested in goodwill, democracy and justice have ever raised a voice or helping hand. Likely because this small group of victimized families have never been heard of.
The victimization of the Smosarski family is not just due to the loss of the Trandewinds report. It is due to the overall secrecy that prevents them from knowing how Olivia died. This secrecy extends to issues about the release of information from the police investigation. It extends to the secrecy of what their insurance company has done about investigating the matter. It extends to the very high costs of obtaining legal advice and payment for investigation reports and experts. Costs for a private citizen to obtain a complete package of police investigation reports regarding a fatal collision run at about $9,000.00. Depending on the discretion of individual police forces some citizens cannot obtain any police reports regardless of what they may be willing to pay.
These are the broader facts that are unlikely to be discussed while the tempest of the lost Tradewinds report passes through the region.
David Smosarski deserves to have answers.