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ICBC responds to Blunden civil claim

Two suits have been filed against alleged drunk driver and owner of vehicle in May 31 crash
civil suit Two lawsuits have now been filed against the alleged drunk driver that killed two Whistler cyclists in May of 2015. file photo by braden dupuis

The Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) has issued a response to a civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court by the wife of Whistler cyclist Kelly Blunden, who was struck and killed by a vehicle near Pemberton on May 31.

This month ICBC was officially added as a third party in the suit that was filed by Blunden's wife, Donalda, back in October. It alleges that the driver of a 1995 Chevrolet Cavalier travelling eastbound on Highway 99, Lillooet man Samuel Alec, crossed the centre line and struck Blunden and fellow cyclist Ross Chafe, killing them.

A front-seat passenger in the vehicle, Pemberton's Paul Pierre Jr., was also killed.

The suit alleges that Blunden's death was caused or contributed to by Alec's negligence after he operated the vehicle while intoxicated or otherwise impaired, drove without due care and attention for other person on the highway and drove at an excessive or improper rate of speed, among other contributing factors.

Donalda is seeking damages in relation to losses suffered by herself and her two adult children, including loss of guidance and companionship, loss of support, loss of household assistance and loss of inheritance. Funeral and court costs are also being sought. The vehicle's owner, Carmen Ned, was also named as a defendant in the suit.

In its response filed Dec. 10, ICBC denied the accident occurred "as a result of any negligence on the part of the Defendants" and claimed that any loss, damage or expense sustained "was caused solely or partially by the negligence of the deceased."

The Crown corporation claimed Blunden failed to keep his bike "under proper or any control" and was cycling "without due care and attention" or "reasonable consideration for others using the highway" and without "taking reasonable or proper or any precaution" to avoid the accident.

Among the other factors contributing to the crash, ICBC alleges that Blunden failed to take into account "the climactic conditions, the nature of the roadway, the traffic that was on the roadway, the mechanical condition of the cycle and his own physical and mental condition."

Donalda Blunden declined to comment on the ongoing case.

The third party response is a common part of the pleadings process that allows ICBC's legal counsel to lay out any potential scenario which may have occurred to be considered. A call to ICBC's legal counsel was not returned by deadline.

The wife of the late Chafe, Lizanne Bussieres, filed a civil claim in September seeking damages from Alec and Ned.

Police arrested the 43-year-old Alec in August on three counts each of criminal negligence causing death, impaired driving causing death and driving over the legal blood-alcohol level. He was also charged for failing to remain at the scene of the accident.

None of the above allegations have been proven in court.