The president and CEO of the Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) has written a public apology to the West Shore communities after retracting a claim that West Shore RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett was negligent when she was killed by a drunk driver in 2016.
“I am deeply sorry about the legal documents we filed related to the tragic collision that took the life of Constable Sarah Beckett,” said Nicolas Jimenez in a statement.
“The decision to suggest Constable Beckett was liable for this collision in the initial legal documents was wholly inappropriate and we are instructing our counsel to immediately amend the defence to acknowledge Mr. Fenton is fully liable.”
Jimenez further added how sorry he was in how ICBC “added to that pain” for those grieving the loss of Beckett. ICBC also reached out directly to the West Shore RCMP to offer a personal apology to them.
“We were wrong and we are going to fix it,” Jimenez said. “We will be reviewing and improving oversight of our litigation approach to avoid similar situations in the future.”
In 2016, 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. One year later, Kenneth Jacob Fenton was handed a four-year prison sentence for charges of impaired driving and dangerous driving causing death
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 kilometres per hour posted speed limit.
In March 2018, the Attorney General of Canada filed a claim against Fenton and ICBC in an effort to recoup the costs of Beckett’s damaged RCMP cruiser. ICBC had previously denied facts in the claim and said the cause of the crash was Beckett’s negligence.
ICBC later retracted that claim.
“I acknowledge that none of this can undo our mistake and the pain it has caused, but I hope my unreserved apology provides at least a small measure of consolation to Constable Beckett’s family and to your community,” Jimenez said.
–with files from Shalu Mehta