The late Const. Sarah Beckett’s stocking hangs on the fireplace in her husband, Brad Aschenbrenner’s home. He and his two sons put it up every year in her memory and place cards in it. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

The late Const. Sarah Beckett’s stocking hangs on the fireplace in her husband, Brad Aschenbrenner’s home. He and his two sons put it up every year in her memory and place cards in it. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Husband of Const. Sarah Beckett says ICBC apology not enough

‘How do you have a duty of care to your killer?’ asks widower

Brad Aschenbrenner’s home is filled with photos and memories of his late wife, Const. Sarah Beckett.

Two large pictures of Beckett smiling hang on the wall near the dining table. One of the photos is surrounded by notes of condolence and love from community members, written around the time she died.

Aschenbrenner decorated the home for Christmas. He and his two sons, eight-year-old Lucas and five-year-old Emmitt, hung a stocking for Beckett filled with cards and unscratched lottery tickets from them.

“The first Christmas without her was unbearable,” Aschenbrenner said. “The second one was unbearable but after a tragic loss like this, you start piecing stuff together the best you can. But it doesn’t seem like this is letting us out.”

Aschenbrenner was pointing to print-outs of news stories published the day before about the Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) claiming Beckett was negligent when she was killed after being struck by a drunk driver.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: ICBC retracts claim that Const. Sarah Beckett was negligent when hit by drunk driver

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. In a response, ICBC denied facts in the claim and said the cause of the crash was Beckett’s negligence.

While at the grocery store on Friday, Aschenbrenner received a message from a friend alerting him to a story that was published about ICBC’s claim.

“I just saw the headline and I froze, I couldn’t move,” Aschenbrenner said. “Why, on Dec. 20, five days before Christmas, was this released? And why was I not contacted?”

Aschenbrenner said seeing a negative story about Beckett without being warned was difficult, especially during a time when he’s trying to put on a happy face for his sons before the holidays. While he said he understands news stories have to be reported, he said the timing of this and the inability to serve as a voice for Beckett in the story was what he didn’t understand.

READ ALSO: ‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after Const. Beckett’s killer gets day parole

Since Aschenbrenner wasn’t involved in the civil suit, he did not previously know the details of it.

ICBC accused Beckett of 14 allegations including “failing to keep a proper or any lookout,” “failing to see the defendant’s motor vehicle at a reasonable time” and “failing to give warning by sounding the horn.” ICBC also said Beckett had a duty of care to Fenton.

These statements were later retracted by ICBC with an apology. The corporation said its counsel was instructed to amend their defence to admit Fenton is fully liable for the crash.

Holding the news articles in his hand, Aschenbrenner read out some of ICBC’s allegations with tears in his eyes.

“How do you have a duty of care to your killer?” Aschenbrenner asked. “Sarah’s killer was sentenced in 2017. A year later they still say it’s Sarah’s fault. It’s too late to apologize. I’m not going to accept that.”

Aschenbrenner said stories like this are not fair to him, his family, the RCMP and the first responders who wear their badge daily to defend the public.

He also said he didn’t want his sons to know these allegations came out.

“I don’t want them to have any doubt that this was not Sarah’s fault,” Aschenbrenner said. “We talk about her every day. I still have to instil how much of a special person, a mother, she was.”

Noting his thanks to community members for all of their support over the past years, Aschenbrenner said he’s still figuring out where to go from here.

“She sacrificed her life for us and we need to remember that,” Aschenbrenner said. “They need to answer to this and not just say ‘I’m sorry.’”

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Shaelyn Sinnott of Oak Bay Volunteer Services delivers groceries for client Irene Kenny. The organization has kept up delivery of food and medication throughout all phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Oak Bay Volunteer Services)
Oak Bay volunteers keep critical services running

Duo drove between Oak Bay and Jubilee three days a week, twice a day during pandemic

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Google Maps shows significant traffic backups after a crash reported shortly before noon on Father’s Day, June 20. (Google Maps)
Father’s Day crash in Saanich closes lane of McKenzie Avenue

Police say there were injuries, traffic impacted

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read