Manitoba

2 men sue City of Winnipeg over 2020 toboggan collision involving snow-covered concrete block

Two men are suing the City of Winnipeg after they crashed into a snow-covered concrete block while tobogganing on Garbage Hill in 2020.

One man fractured spine, tore ligaments, other broke jaw, lost teeth and fractured numerous ribs

People are pictured tobogganing at Garbage Hill in this file picture. Two men are suing the city after they collided with a snow-covered concrete block at the base of the hill in 2020. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Two men are suing the City of Winnipeg after they crashed into a snow-covered concrete block while tobogganing on Garbage Hill in 2020.

The men, Benjamin Overton and Andrew Worth, allege that the city was negligent and failed in its duty of care in a statement of claim filed with Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench on Friday.

Overton and Worth went to Garbage Hill, formally known as Westview Park, with their families in the afternoon of Dec. 27, 2020. At about 3:30 p.m., the two men rode a toboggan together down a clear, unmarked snow-covered portion on the south side of the hill when they unexpectedly hit the concrete block, resulting in serious injuries.

Neither of the men had been to the hill prior to that day, and nobody from the group had gone down that part of the hill prior to the accident.

There were no signs warning the public about the existence of the concrete block or any other hazards, the statement of claim says.

Garbage Hill is a popular sledding spot in Winnipeg, but the two men who crashed into a snow-covered concrete block there and suffered serious injuries say in a statement of claim that there have been numerous injuries there. The City of Winnipeg wouldn't speak about that. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

"The City of Winnipeg knew, or ought to have known, of the cement block … and that it could not be seen by tobogganers using that section of Garbage Hill," the statement reads.

The concrete block "therefore constituted a hidden, unusual danger to those tobogganing."

Overton's injuries included a fractured spine, torn ligaments in his knee and a torn rotator cuff, while Worth fractured his jaw in multiple places, lost five teeth, fractured numerous ribs and suffered cuts to his face.

Both men are seeking damages for past and future medical and dental care as well as loss of income.

The statement of claim also alleges that the collision suffered by Overton and Worth is not the first time someone's been hurt on the hill.

"There were numerous tobogganing-related injuries at Garbage Hill prior to the incident (some of which involved the cement block or one like it), in the weeks, months and years prior," the statement says.

The City of Winnipeg says it has no comment while the matter remains before the courts, and isn't able to respond to the question of tobogganing-related injuries that have happened at Garbage Hill, because that information relates to the statement of claim.

Overton, Worth and their lawyer declined an interview with CBC News.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Bergen is a journalist for CBC Manitoba and previously reported for CBC Saskatoon. Find her on Twitter at @r_bergen or email her at rachel.bergen@cbc.ca.

now