CASE LAW - Borgjford v Thue

BC Courts Coat of ArmsThe matter at trial is the liability for a serious collision that took place on the Coquihalla Highway in an area known as Larson Hill on August 11, 2011. A pickup truck and camper driven by Mildred Eileen Boizard was travelling southbound in the rightmost of 3 southbound lanes at a speed of between 80 and 85 km/h in the posted 110 km/h speed zone. She overtook two tractor-trailer units, one in her lane and one in the center lane. Mrs. Boizard decided to pass and carefully changed to the leftmost lane and remained at her travel speed even though the truck she was driving was capable of a faster speed in the circumstances.

While Mrs. Boizard was in the process of passing by on the left of the tractor-trailer in the middle lane a Suburban driven by Jed William Thue approached from behind at an estimated speed of 150 to 160 km/h. Finding his path blocked, Mr. Thue attempted to pass the tractor-trailer in the center lane and pass between it and the tractor-trailer in the right lane. He was not able to and collided with the back of the tractor-trailer in the right lane. Two occupants in Mr. Thue's vehicle were ejected in the collision and all occupants of the Suburban sustained significant injury.

Counsel for Mr. Thue attempted to argue that Mrs. Boizard changed lanes into the rightmost lane in a manner that blocked his path and forced him to take evasive action which caused the collision. Mr. Justice Rogers said that the real issue here is whether Mrs. Boizard was negligent when she moved from the middle to the left-most lane or was negligent in continuing to occupy the left lane as she overtook Mr. Einarson’s unit. The question is whether she knew or ought to have known her maneuver would jeopardize the safety of vehicles that may have been approaching from behind at a much higher speed.

Ultimately Mr. Justice Rogers found Thue culpable for the collision due to the careless manner in which he had been driving. However, he also found Mrs. Boizard partially responsible for the collision because she did not speed up during her pass and blocked the left lane for longer than was reasonably necessary. If she had exercised a proper standard of care she would have passed more quickly in anticipation of faster traffic overtaking from the rear.

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