Canada isn’t as litigious a country as others you will find in the world, but when you’re hit with a tragedy and you feel as though you have no other choice, suing a person for negligence is an option for some victims of impaired driving. That’s what the widow of a Whistler cyclist killed by an alleged drunk driver, is doing: she’s claiming that there was knowledge prior to the crash that the driver was impaired, and that amounts to negligence.
The crash occurred when cyclists Ross Chafe and Kelly Blunden were riding down a steep hill near Duffy Lake on Highway 99 and the driver, Samuel Alec, crossed the center line and hit both cyclists head on. Both cyclists were killed and the driver was arrested and charged in criminal court with 3 counts of criminal negligence causing death, impaired driving causing death, and driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over .08. He’s also received a charge of failing to remain at the scene of a crash.
The passenger of the vehicle Alec was driving was also killed, and it was discovered after that he has a history of impaired driving and was also driving with a suspended license at the time. He had previously been charged with impaired driving 3 times, with the most recent arrest in October of 2014.
Alec didn’t own the vehicle he was driving at the time of the crash, and Ross Chafe’s widow, Lizanne Bussieres, claims that the owner of the vehicle knew Alec as impaired and also knew that the car needed maintenance. What will happen with the court case is anyone’s guess, but even if she is successful in suing for negligence, the sad fact is that it won’t bring back her husband. But what a successful verdict could do is send a strong message to people who drink and drive: the outcome isn’t worth the risk.