Laval Police warn speeding motorists

Car wrecks and real victim lend impact to LPD’s grim message


Martin C. Barry

Nicolas Steresco remembers too clearly April 15, 1998. It was the fateful date nearly 20 years ago when he lost control of his motorcycle while travelling at high speed on a “clover leaf” loop connecting Autoroute 10 to Autoroute 30 on Montreal’s South Shore. It was a moment that changed his life forever and that he has long since regretted.

Speed finally got him

Although Steresco had navigated the loop in question so many times before that he called it “my clover leaf,” this time something went wrong. Today he’s not certain whether there was sand on the roadway that day, causing him to skid and wipe out.

But the bottom line, he now willingly admits, was that he was travelling too fast. Indeed, speed was something he’d become dangerously accustomed to for too long. In the end it got him.

“I had fun when I was going fast,” said Steresco, who was 25 years old then, and who now spends a good deal of his time in a wheelchair. “I thought I was superman, like every young guy with a sports in their control. I thought I could do anything – and many times I did – but this time I lost.”

Now helps during police ops

Steresco was lending a helping hand to members of the Laval Police Department during an auto accident prevention event that officers with the force staged on June 14 on Curé Labelle Blvd. near the Centre commercial Saint-Martin.

Some motorists who happened to be speeding by the location which was staked out by the police, fire and public safety personnel were randomly flagged down and issued warnings about the perils of speeding.

Officers flagged down motorists from Curé Labelle Blvd. as part of their accident prevention event.
A Laval Police traffic officer flags a truck into the shopping centre’s parking lot for a spot check during the force’s June 14 road safety operation.

At the same time, they got to see some of speeding’s consequences through a gruesome display of wrecked vehicles, while hearing a first-hand account of what it’s like to be in and to suffer the long-term consequences of a high-speed accident from Steresco himself.

Consequences of speeding

For Steresco, those consequences were as follows: he suffered a severe open fracture to a leg, necessitating the implantation of a steel rod which remains in place to this day. However, more seriously he suffered a severe traumatic brain injury that put him into a coma for a month-and-a-half, followed by a six-month period of post-trauma amnesia.

Laval Police used wrecked vehicles to hammer in their point about the dangers of speeding.
The Laval Police conducted a safety awareness-raising operation just off Curé Labelle Blvd. in the Centre commercial Saint-Martin parking lot on June 14 with wrecked vehicles to make their point about the dangers of speeding.

As well, for a time he had no recollection of many of the basic things an individual does on a daily basis, such as eating, washing and speaking. He had start all over from zero, as it were, to re-learn each and every task. Although Steresco uses a wheelchair today, he did manage with the help of an orthopaedic walker to re-gain his walking ability, although only for short distances, he admits. “Eighty per cent of my time I’m in my wheelchair,” he said.

He’s permanently disabled

Another consequence is that Nicholas can no longer work for a living. Although he is recognized as having a permanent disability, he offers his services voluntarily to police forces as a spokesperson for motorcycle and automotive safety.

While he says nothing about the risks taken by those who drive motorcycles, Steresco has this advice. “Think first, not like I did,” he said. “Think about what you are doing and slow down. I don’t tell anyone not to do anything, but I tell them just to become aware of the risks that are out there. They’re always there. Do things in a way at least that is secure. That’s all I am saying.”