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Victims in Abbotsford wedding crash reach settlement

Civil claims involving 30 people affected by a 2007 crash that killed six pedestrians and injured 19 others have been settled without a trial.
A crash in August 2007 that killed six pedestrians and injured 19 others resulted in a civil suit

Civil claims involving 30 people affected by a 2007 crash that killed six pedestrians and injured 19 others have been settled without a trial.

Details of the settlement cannot be revealed due to terms of the agreement, said Bernie Simpson, lawyer for the majority of the plaintiffs.

The matter, which was scheduled to go to trial last September, was settled through mediator Donald Brenner, former chief justice of the Supreme Court of B .C. who died last week at the age of 64.

The fact that the settlement was reached last fall was revealed earlier this week.

Simpson said all the parties involved recognized the complexity of the case – with so many plaintiffs and defendants – and that a trial "could have gone on for years."

"This was probably the most complex and tragic accident that's happened in British Columbia. In the 40 years I've been practising, I can't think of anything comparable."

The tragedy occurred on the evening of Aug. 24, 2007 in the 1600 block of Lefeuvre Road, when a pickup truck driven by Bachittar Singh Brar, 71, drove into a group of more than 30 people who were involved in a traditional pre-wedding procession.

The crash killed two Abbotsford women, Satwinder Mahil and Harjinder Sanghera, both 57, as well as Damanpreet Kang, 13, and Rubal Gill, 21 of Brampton, Ont.; Bhupinder Clair, 32, of Hamilton, Ont.; and Ripudaman Dhillon, 32, of Texas.

After an investigation, police decided not to recommend charges against Brar.

Family members of the deceased, as well as those injured in the accident, launched  a civil suit against Brar, the owner of the truck he was driving, the City of Abbotsford and ICBC.

Other defendants in some of the claims included the owners of two Lefeuvre Road properties that held the pre-wedding celebration.

The plaintiffs alleged that the city was negligent for, among other things, not providing sufficient lighting so pedestrians were more visible; failing to install traffic signs to warn drivers of pedestrians in the area; and not providing enough space for pedestrians to walk on the side of the road.

The city responded in its statement of defence that the plaintiffs failed to take reasonable care for their own safety, were not wearing reflective clothing and were not walking on the shoulder of the road.

Due to confidentiality terms, Simpson could not reveal whether all or some of the defendants were involved in the settlement pay-out.


Vikki Hopes

About the Author: Vikki Hopes

I have been a journalist for almost 40 years, and have been at the Abbotsford News since 1991.
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