When Brianne Giasson and Joshua Serniak went to McDonald’s on Christmas, they had no idea how terrible their night would turn out.
The couple had a brief interaction in the parking lot with off-duty RCMP officer Keven Biagioni who was driving erratically. That interaction led to an alleged road-rage incident and a serious motor vehicle crash not far away.
Giasson and Serniak say Biagioni smashed into the rear of their car so hard the rear and front seats were dislodged from the impact.
The Dec. 25, 2022 incident put Biagioni in even more hot water than he already was. The officer is charged with discharging a firearm with intent, aggravated assault, and careless use of a firearm in connection with a shooting during an arrest of a domestic violence suspect near the Vedder River in 2021.
The man who was shot, David Bardwell, has also filed a lawsuit against Biagioni, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General of B.C., and the Attorney General of Canada.
A pre-trial conference was held in B.C. Supreme Court in Surrey on Wednesday in advance of a trial to face the 2021 charges.
Giasson and Serniak contacted The Progress after seeing Biagioni’s name in connection with the shooting. They said they were shocked to be told that he would face no charges after the Christmas day crash, and when the investigating officer did not respond to emailed questions, they filed a complaint with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for RCMP.
That’s because at the scene, Biagioni was visibly intoxicated, his vehicle smelled like alcohol according to a witness and the tow truck driver, and an officer even told the couple he was over the legal limit.
“He shouldn’t be getting away with this, and people should know that victims have no protection,” Giasson told this reporter when she first got in touch in January. “He also shouldn’t be let back on to the force when he obviously can’t make good decisions.”
The Christmas day incident began in the restaurant’s drive-thru. Giasson said Biagioni was in the car ahead of theirs and after he got his food, he didn’t drive ahead. An employee had to tap on his window to get him to drive forward.
Then, at the exit from the parking lot, Biagioni again stopped for no apparent reason. Serniak, who was driving, honked. Biagioni opened his door and gave the couple a rude hand gesture. Then they drove around Biagioni who swerved and cut them off into the oncoming lane, they say.
Serniak sped off down the road westbound, Biagioni gave chase and smashed into their car just east of the Evans Road overpass.
They say the officer got out of his car, told them “this didn’t have to happen,” and suggested he would pay for the damage and they didn’t need to involve the police or ICBC.
They they started filming Biagioni and he changed his tune, saying they would involve ICBC.
Giasson said the whole incident was extremely stressful, and that she had an anxiety attack at the scene.
“I’m pretty sure I have PTSD,” she said.
Then when they found out Biagioni wouldn’t be charged, they were shocked.
“I couldn’t wrap my brain around it,” she said.
When asked why he faced no charges, the Chilliwack RCMP spokesperson passed The Progress on to E Division, RCMP headquarters, in Surrey. Soon after an email was sent to headquarters on Monday (Feb. 27), Giasson said she was contacted by an officer who was “apologetic.”
On March 2, she said an officer came by their house to get video footage they took of Biagioni after the crash.
E Division senior media relations officer S/Sgt Kris Clark told The Progress that the Privacy Act and the Motor Vehicle Act mean names of those involved in the Dec. 25, 2022 incident cannot be shared.
Clark confirmed RCMP did attend a motor vehicle incident at the location, and “the matter resulted in a driver receiving a 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) from driving.”
An IRP is an administrative suspension of driving privileges, as opposed to the much more serious Criminal Code offence of impaired driving.
“The application of the IRP in this case is aligned with similar fact files and does not meet the threshold for criminal charges,” Clark said.
Clark did not immediately respond to a question regarding whether the IRP was the end of the matter or if further charges or discipline were possible.
The couple await a response regarding their complaint about RCMP actions.
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