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Local man awarded $3 million after Violin Lake crash

Supreme Court Justice Grace Choi found ATVer Doria Newman 100 per cent liable for the accident
The collision between a dirt bike and an ATV occurred on Violin Lake Road near Trail. (Google Maps)

A local man has been awarded $3 million in damages five years after a life changing accident on Violin Lake Road.

Dirt bike rider Levon Bye had his left leg amputated after a crash with ATV driver Doria Newman on Aug. 26 , 2012. The men were rounding a blind corner heading in opposite directions when they collided.

In her Sept. 27 decision, Supreme Court Justice Grace Choi found Newman 100 per cent liable for the accident, stating, “I find that Mr. Newman breached the standard of care expected of an ordinary, reasonable, and prudent person by driving his ATV too quickly, and by crossing the centre of the road into the oncoming side around a blind corner. This breach caused the accident.”

Bye was launched from the bike on impact, likely hitting his leg on the upper area of the ATV that was damaged in the crash, according to the court document.

He was left with injuries than included a fracture to his neck and multiple leg fractures that required a through-knee amputation to much of his left leg.

Newman testified that he got off the ATV to help Bye, but lost consciousness.

Liability in this case turns on the sequence of events immediately before and after the crash, Choi wrote.

“When Mr. Bye and Mr. Newman collided, there were no other witnesses. Each has given a starkly differing account of how the collision occurred; therefore, the credibility and reliability of their testimony is critical in reconstructing what happened.”

After hearing both men’s account of the day, evidence from an accident reconstructionist, and witness statements, the judge stated she gave little evidence to the latter citing concerns about the reliability of their testimony.

Bye, 31 at the time of the accident, was an active man and employed as carpenter at Teck Trail Operations, Choi noted.

“The injuries from the accident have changed his life dramatically forever,” the judge stated. “He now suffers from daily pain and fatigue as a result of the amputation and is permanently disabled from returning to carpentry work and to many of his recreational activities. He testified that, before the accident, he enjoyed dirt biking, boating, hunting, fishing, hiking, and swimming, and that his injuries have either cut off, or severely limited his enjoyment of these.”

Bye was awarded $3,046,255 in damages, including $1.2 million for future income loss and $1.1 million for cost of future care.

The City of Trail was originally included in the action brought forward by Mr. Bye as the accident occurred on city-owned Violin Lake property.

The claim against the municipality was dismissed and the city’s legal costs were covered as part of its liability insurance.

The property is marked “No Trespassing,” and the access points are gated, confirmed Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff.

“The city continues to ensure that there is adequate signage in the area and maintains the gates,” he said. “Unfortunately, people ignore the signs and try to get around the gates and given the size of the property it is difficult to deal with enforcement.”

Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

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