British Columbia

ICBC 'deeply sorry' for claiming West Shore Mountie was negligent when drunk driver hit and killed her

In a response to a lawsuit, ICBC claimed Const. Sarah Beckett was negligent in the fatal 2016 crash, in which her cruiser was struck by a drunk driver. The insurer later apologized for the claim.

ICBC made the claim in a lawsuit launched by AG trying to recover the costs of Beckett's damaged cruiser

In a lawsuit involving convicted drunk driver Kenneth Fenton whose vehicle struck and killed RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett in 2016, ICBC denied the fatal crash was Fenton's fault, claiming it was Beckett's negligence that caused the crash. (Richard Zussman/CBC)

A spokesperson for the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is apologizing after the insurer claimed Const. Sarah Beckett, who was killed when a drunk driver struck her cruiser in April, 2016, was negligent at the time of the crash.

The claim was included in a response to a lawsuit against Kenneth Fenton, the driver who hit her vehicle, in which the attorney general is seeking compensation for Beckett's damaged RCMP cruiser — a 2009 Ford Crown Victoria.

ICBC, Fenton's insurer, is a third party named in the lawsuit.

"We're deeply sorry," said ICBC's Lindsay Wilkins in an emailed statement to CBC News on Friday. "Clearly, the decision to suggest Const. Beckett was liable for this collision in the initial legal documents was a mistake, and we are taking immediate steps to fix this error."

In its response to the lawsuit filed in May, 2018, ICBC denied that the fatal crash was the result of Fenton's negligence.

"...The sole, proximate and direct cause of such collision and such personal injuries, loss, expense or damage was the negligence of the deceased [Const.] Sarah Beckett..." the legal response claimed.

Fenton pleaded guilty to impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving causing death in May, 2017. He was sentenced to four years in prison and granted day parole in August of this year.

On Friday, West Shore RCMP — where Beckett was posted — issued a statement about the lawsuit. 

"We are aware of the civil suit and the response filed by ICBC. On our end, we remain deeply affected by the loss of our friend and respected colleague, Sarah," said Insp. Todd Preston.

"The timing of this story coming out so close to Christmas leaves myself and the membership of West Shore RCMP saddened," said Preston.

Wilkins said ICBC would quickly change its response to the lawsuit.

"We will be instructing our counsel to amend that defence to admit the defendant is fully liable for this accident," she said.

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