Fiery car crash kills man in Côte St. Luc
Cavendish Blvd.: Smashes into concrete walkway
The Gazette
February 17, 2010
A man killed early yesterday in a horrific car crash in Côte St. Luc was on his way to meet friends near the Cavendish Mall when he lost control of his vehicle and plowed into a concrete stairway.

The driver probably died on impact or was unconscious before the car burst into flames after hitting a staircase that leads to a pedestrian walkway at an underpass on Cavendish Blvd., police said.

Although Montreal police said yesterday they couldn’t release the victim’s name, several of the driver’s friends identified him as George Leonte, 20, of Côte St. Luc.

When Leonte failed to turn up by about 2 a.m., one of his friends headed home and drove past the smouldering vehicle on Cavendish Blvd., just north of Fleet Rd.

“I was thinking: ‘I hope it is not one of our friends,’ ” said the friend, who didn’t want his name published because he didn’t want to upset Leonte’s family. “It is very sad.”

Friends said Leonte moved to Montreal from Romania about two years ago. They said he was a good-natured young man who loved music.

Police investigators said he was travelling at a high speed when he lost control of his BMW and crashed into a concrete staircase. The car left the road and travelled about 75 metres on a grassy slope before the collision.

The speed limit on that section of Cavendish Blvd. is 50 kilometres an hour.

Police often set up radar traps at the underpass to deter speeders and have installed electronic speed billboards that show motorists how fast they are travelling.

“We have been very pro-active with campaigns against speeding,” said Commander Sylvain Bissonnette of Station 9 in Côte St. Luc.

Bissonnette said the signage and road markings in the area have all been updated over the past two years.

Stacey Bindman was watching television just after 1:30 a.m. when he heard a loud noise. He initially thought his wife had fallen out of bed, but after seeing that she was all right, he looked outside and noticed an ambulance and a fire truck behind his house.

When Bindman went outside and walked across the overpass, he looked back and saw firefighters dousing the burned car.

Another friend said Leonte liked his car, but didn’t like to speed.

“He knows his car goes fast, he didn’t have to prove it,” said the friend, who spoke only on the condition that his name not be published.

“He did everything in his power to be a good driver.”

Allan Bernstein, a Côte St. Luc resident, said many drivers speed on Cavendish Blvd. as they approach the underpass.

“The police are often there with their speed guns, but they have to enforce it more,” he said.

Two Laval men died this month when the car they were travelling in hit a guard rail at the entrance to the Viau Bridge and plunged into the Rivière des Prairies. Police are still investigating the crash, but said yesterday that speed was a factor in the accident.ôte/2574253/story.html