ICBC claims cyclist’s negligence caused his death

The Corporation claims Ross Chafe "was impaired by alcohol, drugs, fatigue, illness or any combination thereof."

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia says a cyclist’s death by an allegedly impaired driver on a B.C. highway was due to his own carelessness.

On May 31, Ross Chafe was out for a weekend ride with two others along Highway 99 about 50 kilometres north of Whistler when his group was hit by a vehicle alleged to have been driven by Samuel Alec.

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Chafe’s widow, Lizanne Bussieres, has launched legal action against Alec, ICBC and the vehicle’s owner, Carmen Ned, for negligence.

Bussieres alleged Ned was aware Alec was impaired and still allowed him to use the vehicle, which she argued wasn’t properly maintained.

ICBC responded to the lawsuit by arguing Chafe may have been cycling under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the collision. The Corporation also claims Chafe’s brakes were possibly faulty and he might not have been riding legally, staying as close as possible to the road’s shoulder.

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“He was operating the said cycle while his ability to drive was impaired by alcohol, drugs, fatigue, illness or any combination thereof,” read the response to civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court on earlier this month.

“He was operating the said cycle without proper care and attention or without reasonable consideration for others using the highway.”

Bussieres wants compensation for the loss of guidance, support, household assistance and inheritance, as well as special damages for funeral and memorial service costs. Court documents indicate she filed the lawsuit on behalf of herself and her three children, who are 11, 15 and 17 years old.

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None of the allegations have been proven in court and neither Ned nor Alec have filed statements of defence.

The collision also killed Chafe’s fellow cyclist Kelly Blunden and Paul Pierre Jr., who was riding in the vehicle’s passenger seat.

In August, RCMP charged Alec with a string of offences, including impaired driving causing death, criminal negligence causing death and failure to remain at the scene of an accident.

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