Family of victim in alleged police chase wants answers
The family of a woman killed in a hit-and-run accident in White Rock last year is demanding answers about whether a police chase led to her death.
Marilyn Laursen, 56, was struck by a 1992 red Nissan Maxima while walking with a friend in a marked intersection around 9:30 p.m. in May 2011. She died at the scene.
Kyle Danyliuk, 19, of Surrey, B.C. pleaded guilty to five charges related to the incident in February and will be sentenced on Sept. 27.
The case progressed further earlier this week when Const. David Bickle, a rookie White Rock RCMP officer, was charged with dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing bodily harm for allegedly pursuing Danyliuk before the crash.
“Why can't someone explain to us why this happened? Why? I just don’t think I’ll ever have an answer that will satisfy me to actually know. Why is my sister dead?” asked Kelowna resident Cheryl Parrott.
After the crash, Laursen’s daughter Angela Crossman spoke about the loss of her mother and how she wanted her to be remembered.
“For people to know what a wonderful woman my mom was and how it’s so unfair that her life was cut so short, so tragically, in the prime of her life,” Crossman said.
Witnesses in 2011 reported the incident as a police chase, and the Vancouver Police Department have since investigated the crash.
Laursen’s family was told that it began on a White Rock beach when Bickle allegedly approached Danyliuk for playing loud music. It ended with a fatal crash in uptown White Rock, more than two kilometres away.
Parrott wants to know why the alleged pursuit lasted this long.
“Can you just tell me why you were continuing to pursue? That’s what I would like to know: why it went on for such a long time,” she said.
While the RCMP has refused to comment on camera, Sgt. Rob Vermeulen released a statement to CTV News.
“Given the recent charge against Const. Bickle, it isn't appropriate for us to be out commenting on that story. The Emergency Vehicle Driving Regulations apply to all police in B.C. and are readily found in the Motor Vehicle Act,” Vermeulen wrote.
The Motor Vehicle Act states that to engage in or continue a pursuit, a peace officer must have reasonable grounds that “the seriousness of the offence and the need for immediate apprehension outweigh the risk to the safety of members of the public that may be created by the pursuit.”
Laursen’s family is now left wondering if her life could have been saved if the alleged pursuit was put to an end earlier.
“I keep thinking to myself that the chase contributed so much to my sister’s death. Had the chase been stopped, halted, called off, whatever would be the procedure, my sister would more than likely be alive today,” Parrott said.
RCMP won’t confirm if Bickle is still on duty. His first court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 9.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Julia Foy