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

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Parksville soccer player invited to elite soccer academy in Portugal

Wylee Franks aspires to become a professional player

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Qualicum Beach volunteer Mark Watson honoured for 30 years of service at fire hall

‘He has such a good spirit in everything that he does’

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Comox’s Kassidy Stewart takes Miss Teen BC title

She is set now to compete in nationals this summer

Shopping resumes aboard Nanaimo ferry sailings

B.C. Ferries reopens gift shops on Queen of Cowichan and Queen of Oak Bay

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Island Health provides Baby Beds for infants

A safe place for baby to sleep is key to reduce sleep-related deaths

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Most Read