Cyclists killed in Pemberton crash mourned by friends
Friends and members of the Whistler cycling community are mourning the two cyclists who died Sunday after being struck by an alleged drunk driver.
According to Pemberton RCMP, a car hit the cyclists on Highway 99 north of Mount Currie around noon, killing both of them.
A passenger in the car also died at the scene and the driver was airlifted to a Vancouver hospital.
On Monday, Ross Chafe and Kelly Blunden were identified as the cyclists tragically killed in the collision.
Friends said Blunden was a long-time member of the Whistler Cycling Club who would take beginners out for rides and also helped manage the club's website.
"He's always been the stand-up guy, the guy who always cared about everyone," said Wayne Coughlin.
He said Blunden was a dedicated cyclist who planned to travel to Europe with his wife next month to cycle.
Chafe was described as an experienced cyclist who had only lived in Whistler for two years. He worked for Flags Unlimited, an Ontario-based company that designs flags and banners.
Frank Savage, the president of the Whistler Cycling Club, said the death of two members has left the club reeling.
"I was devastated, particularly [because] I know those individuals very well," he said. "They were very prominent members of our club. We are devastated."
The driver has been identified as 43-year-old Sam Alec. His passenger was family friend Paul Pierre Jr., 52, a well-known local rancher.
“He has a very big family and we’re all very sad at this moment,” Pierre’s daughter Lindsay Thevarge told CTV News over the phone. “He was always happy and cheerful and positive. A lot of people looked to him when they were going through hard times.”
Whistler Mounties are conducting an impaired driving investigation into the crash, but no charges have been laid.
"The information we have is the driver did cross over into the oncoming lane and of course the cyclist would've been on the right-hand side of their lane that they were on," said Sgt. Rob Knapton.
Highway 99 was closed in both directions for nearly 10 hours on Sunday because of the collision.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Scott Hurst