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‘Reckless’: Court awards $326K in Sooke road rage incident

Car rammed at gas station
Image courtesy Creative Outlet

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has awarded a man $326,000 following a disturbing road rage incident in Sooke.

According to court documents, defendant Ernest Ponton rammed a SmartCar driven by Marc Brown repeatedly with his van.

The encounter left Brown with injuries causing chronic pain.

In his decision handed down several months after the six-day trial, Justice K. Michael Stephens wrote that injuries to Brown’s back, shoulder and neck have left him in chronic pain that “is unlikely to improve in a significant way in the future.”

“The plaintiff’s situation stands out as sad,” Stephens wrote, leaving Brown at “a significantly reduced level” due to the loss of strength and numbness in his leg. Brown also developed diabetes as “secondary effects of the accident.

Brown’s doctor told the court that this case stands out from the thousands of medical legal examinations he has completed.

About 50 per cent of the award is for past and future earnings.

Although Ponton said during the trial that Brown should be liable for 40 per cent for the crash because he argued that Brown had instigated the confrontation that led to the crash, Stephens ruled that Ponton was completely liable.

The incident began about a month before in March of 2016 during a “mutually aggressive argument” at a gas station in Sooke, where Brown said he believed Ponton had slashed the tire on his car. He was unable to get Ponton’s licence plate number and did not file a report with the police.

Approximately one month later, the two got into another altercation.

Ponton testified that he had “inadvertently hit” Brown’s vehicle, although photographs showed skid marks and significant damage to the SmartCar.

Although Stephens said Ponton may been fearful when Brown approached his van, his “conduct was reckless and completely disproportionate to any degree of fear caused by the plaintiff’s conduct that day.”

Brown had sought $438,000 to $549,000 in damages, but Stephens reduced it because of pre-existing health conditions.

The award of $436,000 includes the cost of physiotherapy, pain medications, psychological consultations, loss of housekeeping ability and special damages.

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