ICBC sues driver in fatal truck crash over fuel spill damage in Kootenay National Park

BIV's lawsuit of the week

Photo: Rob Kruyt

The Insurance Corp. of British Columbia (ICBC) is suing Abbotsford resident Jaswinder Singh Bagri, a trucker convicted of four counts of dangerous driving causing death, over a 2011 crash that also caused a “significant fuel spill” in Kootenay National Park.

ICBC filed a notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on November 21, claiming Bagri is liable for a $100,984 payment made to the national parks authority for the spill. According to the lawsuit, Bagri was behind the wheel of a 2003 Volvo tractor-trailer on July 22, 2011, when he collided with a camper van operated by a California man named Robert Andrew Howard.

“The Collision was caused solely as a result of the negligence of the Defendants,” ICBC’s claim states.

According to a 2016 ruling from the B.C. Court of Appeal, Bagri’s truck jackknifed on a sharp corner in rainy conditions when it hit Howard’s van, which also contained his wife, Anna Maria Dias, and their daughters, Veronica and Samantha Howard, all of whom were killed. Bagri, who suffered minor injuries in the crash, was unsuccessful appealing his criminal convictions, and ICBC now claims that he is in breach of insurance regulations, having “forfeited his right to indemnity” under the insurance policy.

The insurance corporation claims it paid out settlement funds “in good faith.” Bagri is “legally liable to pay for the property damages arising out of the Collision,” the company claims and seeks recovery of monies paid for “environmental services” in 2013.

Bagri has allegedly failed to pay back the sum despite the demand. ICBC’s allegations have not been proven in court and Bagri had not responded to the claim by press time.