Civil claims filed in 2010 Abbotsford crash

Melody Jewell seeks damages for the death of her husband Ralph, who was struck by a car at a busy intersection while he was walking.

Ralph Jewell

Ralph Jewell

The wife of a man who died six months after a devastating accident that killed their pregnant daughter has filed three civil claims for financial compensation.

Melody Jewell is suing ICBC and drivers of two vehicles involved in the crash that claimed the life of her 27-year-old daughter Laurel Wilson, who was seven months pregnant, on March 13, 2010.

Her husband, Ralph Jewell, 66, was seriously injured in the crash and spent the next six months in hospital, where he died on Sept. 15, 2010.

The pair were on a pedestrian island waiting to cross at the intersection of Ware Street and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford, when a truck driven by Shaun James Cochrane ran a red light and collided with a Honda Prelude driven by Breanne Gale.

The Prelude spun into the pedestrian island, striking Wilson, her husband Kevin, and Ralph. Kevin sustained minor injuries.

Other vehicles also crashed at the busy intersection.

Cochrane, 25, pleaded guilty to driving with undue care and attention – an offence under the Motor Vehicle Act, rather than a Criminal Code offence – and was sentenced last July to a lifetime driving ban. Gale was not charged or ticketed.

Jewell has filed three notices of civil claim. Two are under her name – one against ICBC for death benefits; and one against Cochrane, Gale and Cameron Edwards (the owner of the car driven by Gale) for general, special and punitive damages.

The third claim is filed under Ralph’s name against the three individuals, claiming lost income from the time of the accident to his death.

Jewell’s lawyer, Dairn Shane, said the matter could take years to decide, due to its complex nature.

Shane said Cochrane and Gale each had only $200,000 coverage through ICBC for third-party liability, leaving a combined total of $400,000 to be dispersed.

Up to another $1 million for each of them is available to be distributed through underinsured motorist protection.

Shane said the challenge is that other motorists involved in the crash have also filed civil claims, and ICBC must determine what share, if any, they are entitled to.

“It leads to very complex calculations,” he said.

All the claims must be settled simultaneously before any money can be awarded, he added.

Shane said the challenge in receiving death benefits from ICBC has been proving that Ralph’s death was directly linked to the crash, although he died six months later.

Jewell filed the notices of civil claim last Friday in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. They state that she has suffered not only the “loss and guidance and companionship of a husband,” but loss of “household assistance and loss of inheritance.”

She has also incurred funeral and medical expenses, the claims state.