A Langley Mountie who crashed his cruiser into a family's camper van while driving 85 km/h over the speed limit holds the lion's share of responsibility for what happened, a B.C. judge has ruled.
RCMP Const. Chad Steven Gorman was travelling at 145 km/h when his cruiser collided with the van at the intersection of 268 Street and the Fraser Highway on July 22, 2014. The speed limit at the busy crossing was just 60 km/h.
Both vehicles were destroyed, but somehow everyone involved walked away from the crash.
On Tuesday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Butler said Gorman should be held 80-per-cent liable for the collision, despite the fact that he was responding to a high-priority 911 call. The driver of the camper van, Shiraz Meghji, is liable for the remaining 20 per cent.
"The majority of the fault must be apportioned to Const. Gorman because of the degree of risk created by his breach of the standard of care of a reasonable police officer, and the extent to which his actions departed from that standard," Butler wrote.
The judge said the officer was driving "at a speed that was excessive and inconsistent with reasonable care for the public safety" and that he'd breached the standard of care for a police officer.
"His actions created the serious risk of harm that materialized when Mr. Meghji entered the intersection. Mr. Meghji's departure from a reasonable standard of care was much less; he failed to proceed with sufficient care as he drove through the intersection," Butler wrote.
Mountie was responding to 911 call
The judgment comes in response to multiple personal injury lawsuits concerning the crash.
At the time of the collision, Gorman was responding to a "priority 1" call — the most urgent alert for an RCMP officer, according to the judgment. A man had called 911 to say he was being chased by someone with a gun.
The constable had his lights and sirens on in the moments before the collision.
Meanwhile, Meghji and his family were lost in Langley. He, his wife and their two teenage children were visiting from Calgary and were trying to find an antique car museum in the area when they took a wrong turn off the Fraser Highway.
Meghji tried to correct his mistake and was crossing the highway when Gorman's cruiser slammed into the side of the camper.
The impact flipped the van onto its side. As Butler writes in his judgment, "somewhat miraculously, no one was killed," but Gorman and all four members of the Meghji family were injured.
The Independent Investigations Office was called in to probe the crash, but ultimately released jurisdiction, explaining that it didn't meet their mandate to investigate police-involved incidents leading to death or serious harm.
Though the judge has ruled on liability for the collision, damages have yet to be decided.