Lawsuit filed over Port Mann Bridge ice bomb debacle
A Delta, B.C. woman who claims an ice bomb bashed her on the head during an infamous mishap on the Port Mann Bridge is suing for damages.
Caryl-Lee Obrecht alleges her husband was driving her across the bridge on Dec. 19, 2012 when ice chunks that had accumulated on its overhanging cables suddenly came crashing down on the road.
Three of the ice bombs landed on the couple’s Ford Focus, damaging the car and striking Obrecht on the head, according to a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court this month.
“They were not even a quarter of the way through the bridge when an ice bomb fell on their front windshield,” Obrecht’s lawyer Veronica Milne-Medved told CTV News. “That cracked the front windshield of the vehicle so her husband could no longer see.”
Milne-Medved said a second chunk broke the couple’s sunroof shortly after and a third compromised the roof and hit Obrecht directly.
“She had a lot of blood that was coming down her face,” she said. “Then the roof was caving in and her husband was hanging out the window trying to navigate through the remainder of the bridge.”
Obrecht alleges she had to lie on her back and use her feet to keep the roof up until they could get across.
The lawsuit is targeting the Transportation Investment Corporation, the Crown company that built and maintains the bridge, arguing it should have realized the cables presented a risk of dangerous ice accumulation.
It also claims the company took too long to close the bridge after the ice bombs started dropping.
“From the time the first ice bomb started falling to the time when the bridge was officially closed in both directions, it was a number of hours,” Milne-Medved said.
Obrecht claims she suffered cuts, a concussion, whiplash and post-concussion syndrome, which continues to cause nausea, concentration issues, fatigue and other symptoms.
The Transportation Investment Corporation wouldn’t comment on the suit but issued a statement saying the snow-removing cable collars installed after the incident have been effective.
“The collars worked exactly as tested, keeping the crossing free from snow and ice,” it said.
Shortly after the ice bomb fiasco, the Crown corporation agreed to pay deductibles for drivers whose vehicles were damaged.
ICBC said about 350 claims have been settled from the incident for $400,000.
None of the claims in Obrecht’s suit have been proven in court and the Transportation Investment Corporation has yet to file a response.
A second lawsuit was filed by a Vancouver Police Department employee, who claims she suffered injuries after falling ice shattered her windshield.