British Columbia

Vancouver police probe fatal fall from party bus

A 23-year-old woman has died after she fell from a moving party bus in downtown Vancouver on Saturday night, according to police.

Company says it's committed to working with authorities to find out what happened

Vancouver police investigate a deadly incident involving a party bus Saturday night. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Police have identified the woman who died after she fell from a moving party bus in downtown Vancouver on Saturday night as Chelsea Lynn Mist James, 23, of Langley.

According to a statement, police say James fell from an open door while the vehicle was making a southbound turn onto Burrard Street from West Hastings Street. The bus then struck her.

Passengers alerted the driver, who immediately stopped the vehicle. Paramedics tried to revive James but she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said about 24 people were in the bus, celebrating a birthday.

The driver is co-operating with police while the company, Silver Lady Limousine Service Ltd. said in a release that it "is committed to working with authorities in their ongoing investigation to determine the facts and to find out what happened."

Police have not said if alcohol was a factor in Saturday's fatal accident, but party buses have been described as nightclubs on wheels that provide teenagers access to alcohol and drugs.

Painful memories

The accident revived painful memories for Danielle Raymond, of Maple Ridge, B.C., whose sister Shannon, 16, died in 2008 after she consumed drugs on a party bus.

Raymond and her mother have lobbied for tougher regulations for the industry, including mandatory chaperones for vehicles carrying underage passengers and more inspections.

"A lot of these buses are old transit vehicles," Raymond said, adding they're not "meant to be shuttling around intoxicated people."

Last year, the province tightened industry rules, requiring stretch limousines to get special licence plates to make the enforcement of regulations easier.

As of December, 2015, 79 operators with 171 vehicles have been approved for the new licence according to B.C.'s Ministry of Transportation.

The Silver Lady party bus parked a block from the scene of the fatality. The company says it is working with authorities to figure how the accident happened. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

The fine for operating without a licence or advertising an unlicensed service is $1,150. Fines can go as high as $5,000 for repeat offences.

In a statement, the ministry said it will work with police and the BC Coroners Service to investigate "this tragedy," also stating that the Liquor Control and Licensing Act prohibits open liquor in a motor vehicle.

It is also against the law to consume alcohol in an unlicensed public place, including inside a vehicle.

The Vancouver police's collision investigation unit is probing Saturday's incident, according to a statement from VPD.

Burnaby's Silver Lady, which has been in business for 25 years, also said in its statement from president and owner Douglas LeMoine that, "we wish to express our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of the young woman who passed away in an accident involving one of our limousines."

With files from Chad Pawson


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