Car deal­er­ship found partly to blame for col­li­sions af­ter truck stolen

24 Hours Vancouver - - NEWS - KEITH FRASER

A Van­cou­ver car deal­er­ship has been found partly to blame af­ter one of their ve­hi­cles was stolen from the com­pany’s lot and was later in­volved in sev­eral se­ri­ous col­li­sions.

On April 24, 2012, the Dueck Down­town Chevro­let Buick GMC deal­er­ship at 888 Ter­mi­nal Av­enue left an un­locked one-ton 2011 GMC Sierra K2500 pickup truck out­side a de­tail bay, with the key in the ig­ni­tion and the en­gine run­ning for about 40 min­utes be­fore a man named David James Bolton hopped into the ve­hi­cle and drove away.

Af­ter steal­ing the ve­hi­cle, Bolton drove to Rich­mond. The deal­er­ship helped po­lice lo­cate him through a GPS track­ing sys­tem built into the truck.

RCMP at­tempted to ar­rest Bolton, with an of­fi­cer point­ing his pis­tol at him and com­mand­ing him to stop.

In­stead, he backed into a po­lice ve­hi­cle and was able to drive away when an­other po­lice ve­hi­cle re­versed out of the path of the truck.

Bolton, who was later con­victed of sev­eral of­fences re­lated to his dan­ger­ous driv­ing, then struck an un­marked po­lice ve­hi­cle, with the of­fi­cer in the ve­hi­cle suf­fer­ing a frac­tured bone in his neck, a frac­tured bone in his hand and a leg in­jury.

A high-speed po­lice pur­suit en­sued be­fore of­fi­cers were ad­vised to bring the pur­suit to a halt. Sev­eral of­fi­cers turned off their emer­gency equip­ment but main­tained a pur­suit.

At the cor­ner of No. 5 Road and River Road, Bolton, trav­el­ling at a high rate of speed with sev­eral po­lice ve­hi­cles in pur­suit, struck a ve­hi­cle be­ing driven by a woman with her five-year-old son in the car. The woman suf­fered se­ri­ous in­juries and her car was a write­off.

With smoke bil­low­ing from the truck, Bolton drove away and man­aged to avoid a spike belt put down by po­lice be­fore pro­ceed­ing across the Queens­bor­ough Bridge into New West­min­ster.

He got out of the truck and ran, with po­lice or­der­ing him to stop. When he went into the ser­vice bay of a sec­ond deal­er­ship, he ran to­ward an SUV in a bid to get into it but was fi­nally stopped by po­lice.

Three civil law­suits were filed in con­nec­tion with the in­ci­dent. Const. Quinn Provost, the cop who was in­jured, sued Bolton and Dueck. A sec­ond suit in­volved Brandy Brundige, the fe­male driver who was in­jured, su­ing Bolton, Dueck and the cops who failed to halt the pur­suit as or­dered.

The third suit in­volved the At­tor­ney- Gen­eral of Canada, the owner of the po­lice ve­hi­cles that were dam­aged in the col­li­sions with Bolton, su­ing Bolton and Dueck.

In his rul­ing in the case, B.C. Supreme Court Jus­tice Stephen Kelleher said he had no dif­fi­culty with the no­tion that it was rea­son­ably fore­see­able that the truck could be stolen given the care­less way the ve­hi­cle was left at the deal­er­ship.

The judge noted that be­fore the col­li­sion it was widely re­ported that there was a risk to the pub­lic re­sult­ing from stolen ve­hi­cles be­ing driven care­lessly by thieves.

“Here, I find that it is rea­son­ably fore­see­able that a stolen ve­hi­cle could cause se­ri­ous dam­age and in­juries to the po­lice and by­standers in the vicin­ity of where the po­lice are at­tempt­ing to re­cover the stolen ve­hi­cle from the thief,” said the judge.

Kelleher said Dueck had a duty to the plain­tiffs to se­cure the ve­hi­cle in its lot and had breached this duty and the breach helped cause the in­juries and dam­age.

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