April 5/16- A serious motor vehicle incident on Peatt Road at Goldstream Avenue involving RCMP officer Const. Sarah Beckett occurred at around 3:30 a.m. April 5. (Katherine Engqvist/News Staff)

ICBC retracts claim that late Vancouver Island Mountie was negligent in drunk driver crash

ICBC suggested Beckett’s negligence in response to civil court claim

The Insurance Corporation of B.C. is retracting a claim that West Shore RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett was negligent when she was killed after being struck by a drunk driver who sped through a red light in 2016.

In an effort to recoup costs of Beckett’s damaged RCMP cruiser, the Attorney General of Canada filed a civil claim against Fenton and his insurer, ICBC, in March 2018.

An ICBC response came about two months later, denying facts in the claim and saying the “sole, proximate and direct cause of such collision and such personal injuries, loss, expense or damage was the negligence of the deceased Const. Sarah Beckett.”

On Friday afternoon, after a request for comment, ICBC said the decision to suggest Beckett was liable for the crash was a mistake.

“We’re deeply sorry,” the statement from ICBC says. “We are taking immediate steps to fix this error. We will be instructing our cousel to amend that defence to admit the defendant is fully liable for this accident.”

Beckett, a 32-year-old mother of two boys, had recently returned from maternity leave when she was killed in the line of duty in Langford.

Kenneth Jacob Fenton was handed a four year prison sentence in July, 2017 for charges of impaired driving and dangerous driving causing death.

READ ALSO: Driver convicted in death of Const. Sarah Beckett granted partial parole

Beckett was killed after her police cruiser was struck by Fenton’s pickup truck which was speeding through the intersection of Peatt Road and Goldstream Avenue.

Fenton’s blood-alcohol level was three-and-a-half times the legal limit. He was already being pursued by an RCMP officer in a different police vehicle because his taillights were not illuminated and he was travelling almost double the 50 kilometre per hour posted speed limit.

ICBC accused Beckett of “failing to keep a proper or any lookout,” “failing to see the defendant’s motor vehicle at a reasonable time,” “failing to give warning by sounding the horn,” and other allegations of neglect.

In the response, ICBC said Beckett had a duty of care to Fenton and to others using the highway.

“The act of colliding with the vehicle operated by the defendant, Kenneth Jacob Fenton, and owned by the defendant, Kenneth Jacob Fenton, was a breach of that duty.”

A statement from West Shore RCMP Insp. Todd Preston said the detachment is aware of the civil suit and the response filed by ICBC.

“On our end we remain deeply affected by the loss of our friend and respected colleague, Sarah,” Preston said. “The timing of this story coming out so close to Christmas leaves myself and the membership of West Shore RCMP saddened.”

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UFV offers mental-health screenings as part of Beyond the Blues

Activities at event from Jan. 27-31 include stress bingos and colouring

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

Province bringing 421 new affordable childcare spaces to Fraser Valley

Supporting early childhood educators and creating spaces go hand in hand, minister says

Aspiring pot-sellers can apply in two weeks to operate stores in Abbotsford

City will accept applications to operate one of four new stores; public consultation to follow

Nine Abbotsford citizens fleeced for over $68,000 by bitcoin scammers

Police warn public about fraudsters who threaten arrest

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

Man clings to roof of car driving along busy road in Maple Ridge

The man was also seen jumping on the vehicle

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Most Read