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Van passenger in Highway 401 wrong-way collision faces charges linked to LCBO theft before crash | CBC News

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The passenger who was riding in a cargo van involved in a deadly wrong-way crash on Highway 401 east of Toronto last month has been charged in connection with a robbery linked to the incident, according to court documents.

Newly-obtained Oshawa court records show Manpreet Gill is facing 12 criminal charges stemming from the day of the crash, including one count of allegedly robbing an LCBO. He has not been charged in relation to the collision, which killed four people, including an infant, and came after a high-speed police chase through Durham region.

Gill, 38, was previously identified as the sole passenger in the U-Haul van that crashed on Highway 401 in Whitby, Ont. on April 29, following a reported LCBO robbery in Bowmanville, in the regional municipality of Clarington. The vehicle was seen weaving through traffic in the opposite direction, while pursued by at least 20 police vehicles on either side of the highway.

The ensuing multi-vehicle collision killed three-month old Aditya Vivaan from Ajax, and his grandparents, Manivannan Srinivasapillai and Mahalakshmi Ananthakrishnan, who were visiting from India. The van’s driver, Gagandeep Singh, also died.

Gill was hospitalized with serious injuries after the crash. His current condition is not known.

WATCH | Video shows van going the wrong way, police following on Highway 401:

Dashcam footage shows van driving wrong way before fatal Highway 401 crash

Milica Maljkovic Birkett found herself in the middle of a police chase during her Monday commute. Dashcam video shows the van barrelling toward her as police followed on Highway 401 in Whitby.

The new charge sheet, obtained at an Oshawa courthouse on Friday, reveals for the first time that police allege Gill played a role in the cascade of events leading up to the crash.

A Durham police spokesperson declined to comment on the charges, citing the ongoing Special Investigations Unit (SIU) probe. The SIU also declined to comment.

Gill was due to appear via video link for a bail hearing at the Ontario Court of Justice in Oshawa on Thursday morning, but court records show he did not attend.

The new charges include one count of robbery from the Clarington liquor store and another count of possession of stolen LCBO merchandise worth up to $5,000. Gill is also facing further charges of breach of probation.

Durham Regional Police also allege in the court records that Gill stole merchandise worth up to $5,000 from a Canadian Tire in Clarington on April 26.

Accused faced other criminal charges in recent years

The SIU previously said the sequence of events began when Durham police “became aware of a robbery at an LCBO in Clarington.”

Ontario Provincial Police radio communications that evening, which were shared online, suggested a suspect had “tried to rob the store [and] pulled a knife on an off-duty officer.”

When asked by a CBC News reporter last week, Durham Regional Police Chief Peter Moreira declined to explain what happened at the Clarington LCBO.

“In my mind, those events are not separated,” he said, referring to the robbery, followed by the chase and crash. “I’m going to let the SIU complete their investigation.”

Gill was on probation at the time of the April 29 crash and faced other criminal charges in recent years.

He was charged on Feb. 17 with stealing merchandise from an LCBO in Vaughan, as well as possession of stolen property and breach of probation. A release order signed that same day banned Gill from attending the LCBO outlet.

In July 2022, he was charged with being in possession of a stolen vehicle in Mississauga. Court records related to that case included a handwritten note dated May 6, 2024, stating he was still in hospital and “needs time to get better.”

Cars on a highway.
The passenger allegedly involved in a deadly wrong-way crash on Highway 401 in April has been charged in connection with a robbery linked to the incident, court documents show. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)
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