A deadly collision on the Malahat in 2018 was the result of a speeding minivan driver crossing the centre line, according to a B.C. Coroners Service report.
On June 9, 2018, 46-year-old Vancouver man David Tilley was driving his Honda CR-V in the southbound lane of Highway 1 north of Aspen Road when the driver of a Dodge Grand Caravan heading northbound crossed the centre line and struck the front driver’s side of the SUV, causing the vehicle to rotate counterclockwise and come to rest at the place of impact.
Several motorists stopped to help, performing CPR on Tilley. The Malahat Fire Department arrived and continued emergency medical intervention, but Tilley was pronounced dead on scene. A passenger in the vehicle, Tilley’s wife, Justine, was taken to hopsital with serious injuries.
The female driver of the minivan, Sarah Rosetta Thomas, 31, was also taken to hospital.
The portion of highway where the vehicles collided consisted of two northbound lanes and one southbound lane, separated by a double solid line.
According to the report, the crash occurred in an active construction zone where the posted speed limit had been reduced to 60 kilometres per hour. Thomas was travelling at roughly 101 km/h when she collided with Tilley, who was driving between 28 and 40 km/h. There was no evidence of breaking by either vehicle, according to investigators.
The report said the minivan driver’s speed contributed to the severity of the crash but it wasn’t being driven so fast that the curve of the road would have been unmanageable. Witness statements confirmed physical evidence that the Dodge was not out of control.
Still, an event data recorder from the van revealed the only recorded reaction to the impending crash happened 0.5 seconds before impact, when the accelerator pedal was released and there was slight steering to the right, the report stated.
“This all indicates that the Dodge Caravan’s entry into the southbound lane was as a result of non-cognitive driving actions such as medical distress, fatigue, distracted driving or impairment.”
Thomas faces six charges from the crash, including impaired driving causing death, impaired driving causing bodily harm and causing an accident resulting in death. She is scheduled to appear in Duncan court on July 21.
The coroner’s report concluded Tilley died from multiple traumatic injuries as a result of blunt force trauma.
– With files from Andrea Rondeau.