'Long and complex' investigation into fatal highway crash continues 

A Celebration of Life for Whistlerites Chafe and Blunden scheduled for June 13

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRADEN DUPUIS - honouring friends Over 500 cyclists took part in a memorial ride for Kelly Blunden and Ross Chafe on June 9.
  • Photo by Braden Dupuis
  • honouring friends Over 500 cyclists took part in a memorial ride for Kelly Blunden and Ross Chafe on June 9.

Charges have yet to be laid in connection with the fatal Highway 99 crash that killed three on May 31.

Whistler's Kelly Blunden, 53, and Ross Chafe, 52, were cycling downhill just before noon on a steep section of Highway 99 east of the Birkenhead River on the Duffey Lake Road when a northbound vehicle crossed into their lane and struck the group.

A passenger in the vehicle, 52-year-old Lil'wat First Nation member Paul Maurice Pierre Jr., was also killed. He was laid to rest on June 8.

Cpl. Ronda Rempel with BC RCMP Traffic Services stressed that this is "a long and complex" investigation that will require ample time and resources to wrap up.

"We really appreciate the community's patience as the investigation continues on," she said. "I think it's really important to realize that a lot of resources have been dedicated to this investigation and officers are working very hard to try and bring the matter to some sort of a conclusion."

The RCMP is still hoping to speak to the occupants of a dark, or black SUV who may have witnessed erratic driving along Highway 99.

While police suspect the driver, who was airlifted to Vancouver hospital with unspecified injuries, may have been impaired at the time of the incident, Rempel was not aware if a blood-alcohol test was administered.

"I don't know anything about any alcohol testing at this point in relation to the driver," she said.

CBC has reported that, according to court documents, the driver was on condition not to drive and had been previously convicted on several impaired driving charges. As the driver has not yet been charged, Pique is not identifying him.

Mounties have said they are considering recommending charges of impaired driving causing death.

On June 9 a memorial ride was held in Whistler in honour of Blunden, an RMOW employee, and Chafe with over 500 taking part.

Said Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, "It was very impressive to see the numbers of people and the ages, all ages of community members riding by in memory of Kelly and Ross."

A Celebration of Life will be held for Blunden and Chafe on Saturday, June 13, at the Whistler Conference Centre starting at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations will gratefully be accepted to support the two families during this difficult time. Donations can be made at the TD Bank or at the event. Chafe's family is also requesting donations be made to Whistler Community Services Society in lieu of flowers.

A Kelly Blunden Hockey Bursary has also been set up by the Whistler Minor Hockey Association. Those interested in donating can contact Steve Legge at steve@wrec.com.


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