Whistler Cycling Club to host memorial ride today for Ross Chafe and Kelly Blunden 

RCMP seeking assistance from witnesses to highway crash that killed cyclists Chafe and Blunden and a vehicle passenger

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The Whistler Cycling Club is inviting all members and friends to join a memorial ride today, June 9 for Kelly Blunden and Ross Chafe.

On May 31 Blunden, 53, and 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 of Whistler Cycling Club (WCC) members.

Blunden, who headed the IT department at the Resort Municipality of Whistler, is survived by his wife and two adult children. Chafe, a business partner and former president of Flags Unlimited, leaves behind a wife and three young children.

A passenger in the vehicle, 52-year-old Lil'wat First Nation member Paul Maurice Pierre Jr., was also killed.

The slow, processional memorial ride will be police-escorted, looping two times around the center of Whistler, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The procession will enter Blackcomb Way at Sundial Crescent; proceed past Municipal Hall to Lorimer Road, then to the Upper Village and back to the start at Sundial Crescent to begin a second loop.

Participants are urged to gather no later than 5:15 p.m. at Whistler Village Sports, adjacent to Mountain Square in Whistler Village. Non-members will be required to sign a waiver and should arrive a few minutes earlier with that in mind if they intend on joining the longer ride to the Callaghan Valley.

Riders are encouraged to wear a Whistler Cycling Club jersey, though all are welcome whatever their choice of attire (Whistler Village Sports sells the jerseys).

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

In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations will gratefully 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 please contact Steve Legge at steve@wrec.com.

The RCMP is still hoping to speak to the occupants of a dark, or black, SUV who may have witnessed an erratic driver along Highway 99, as part of its investigation into the deaths of three people in a traffic accident.

"This is a very active investigation," said Cpl. Ronda Rempel of BC RCMP Traffic Services.

"The area was very busy with many out-of-town travellers and we believe there may be more information out there.

"Anyone who has not yet spoken to the police and has information about, or photos and/or videos from the incident is asked to contact Sea to Sky Traffic Services directly at 604-815-8261, or attend your nearest RCMP Detachment as soon as possible."

A third cyclist, who was part of the group but about 100 metres behind, was not injured.

The driver, who is suspected of impaired driving at the time of the incident, was airlifted to a Vancouver hospital following the incident. Police have not indicated the nature or extent of his injuries, and would not confirm the identity of the driver. As the driver has not yet been charged Pique is not identifying him. Police said they are considering charges of impaired driving causing death.

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.

Sea to Sky Traffic Services has taken the lead in the investigation with support from Sea to Sky General Investigation Section, the Integrated Collision Analyst and Reconstructionist Services and the BC Coroners Service.


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