British Columbia

Whistler cyclists Kelly Blunden and Ross Chafe killed in collision

The Whistler Cycling Club is mourning the death of two members who were struck and killed by a vehicle on Sunday afternoon on a highway near Mount Currie, B.C.

Car struck pair as they descended steep hill north of Pemberton; vehicle passenger Paul Pierre Jr. also killed

Whistler cyclists Kelly Blunden, left, and Ross Chafe, right, were struck and killed north of Pemberton in May (Facebook)

The Whistler Cycling Club is mourning the death of two members who were struck and killed by a vehicle on Sunday afternoon, in a collision that also killed a passenger in the vehicle, north of Pemberton, B.C., on Sunday.

Paul Maurice Pierre Jr., 52, a passenger in the vehicle that struck the cyclists, died from his injuries. (Facebook)

The two cyclists were Ross Chafe, 50, and Kelly Blunden, 53, the club's vice-president Gary Baker confirmed. 

"I just feel hollow, because they're both such great guys," said Baker on Sunday to CBC News.

The passenger of the vehicle, Paul Maurice Pierre Jr., 52, of the Lil'wat Nation, also suffered fatal injuries in the collision, according to the BC Coroners Service.

Pierre's friends and family members shared condolences on his daughter's Facebook page.

Cyclists were descending a steep hill

Chafe and Blunden were excellent riders who were active in the club, including leading rides and designing its website, said Baker.

Chafe, who was originally from Quebec, competed as a cyclist in three world championships and the Pan Am and Commonwealth Games between 1979 and 1986, according to a statement issued by Quebec's cycling federation.

Blunden had ridden in the Whistler Gran Fondo in 2012 with his son, according to his Facebook page.

Baker said he heard the vehicle may have crossed the centre line and struck the cyclists head-on as they descended a steep hill on the Duffy Lake Road section of Highway 99. 

A third rider in the group was not injured in the collision, he said.

"They're coming down at a high rate of speed, the two of them [separated], and all of a sudden [the third rider] heard a bang and he knew what happened, and apparently the driver had crossed the road and hit them," said Baker.

Impaired driving suspected

Police have yet to release any details about the cause of the crash, but said they suspect the driver of the car may have been impaired.

"It was a fairly bad accident.… The description I've got is not something I would relate to the public, honestly," said Whistler RCMP Sgt. Rob Knapton.

The 43-year-old male driver from Lillooet was badly injured and airlifted to hospital in Vancouver. Police have not released his name.

Since police were unable to conduct a roadside test on the injured driver, an officer accompanied the driver to hospital as part of the investigation.

Knapton said charges of impaired driving causing death are being considered against the driver, but no charges have been laid yet.

Whistler Cycling Club president Frank Savage said the members will be gathering on Tuesday evening to remember the men.

Google Maps: Pemberton, B.C.