Drug-impairment charge urged in crash that killed pedestrian

26-year-old arrested after two sisters struck while out on walk in Central Saanich

Central Saanich police are recommending charges after a vehicle struck two sisters last August, killing one of them and seriously injuring the other.

Kim Ward, 51, died and 48-year-old Tracy Ward was hurt as they walked two dogs along Central Saanich Road, south of Mount Newton Cross Road, about 7 p.m. on Aug. 27. They were hit by a Jeep that had crossed the centre line and gone onto the shoulder.

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One of the dogs also died.

Charges being recommended include impaired driving causing death and impaired driving causing bodily harm, both related to unspecified drugs.

Central Saanich police Sgt. Paul Brailey said the investigation has gone on for several months because of the time it took for toxicology testing of the drugs alleged to be involved.

“Any toxicology that is done goes to the RCMP lab and it takes about six months to come back,” he said. “Alcohol is not a factor in this but we’re going for charges related to drug impairment.”

Brailey said the 26-year-old suspect was arrested Tuesday.

He said the case is fairly complex and it could take some time for Crown counsel to look through and consider charges. The Jeep also rear-ended a sedan at Mount Newton and Lochside Drive about 20 minutes before the fatal crash.

What happened is “absolutely tragic,” Brailey said.

The injured woman “is still in hospital and she’s struggling but she’s stable and rehabilitating, but I would expect her to be in hospital for quite some time yet.”

It was all so needless, Brailey said. “It’s not because something’s wrong with the car, it’s not because someone has a medical condition,” he said. “Our contention is that some people are making the choice to drive with drugs in their system.

“At the end of the day we want people to know whether you’re driving with alcohol or whether you’re driving with drugs, we have the ability to ascertain that.”

Brailey said a concerted effort was put into the case.

“We had 13 officers at one point, out of a total of 30 officers, that we had working part-time or full-time on this because it was so, so tragic.”

Kim Ward was a massage therapist who had worked with Canadian athletes at a pair of Olympics. She was part of the triathlon-support team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 Olympics in London.

She had a home-based practice at her Victoria residence but had plans to move to Sidney to be closer to her mother.

At the time of the crash, sports chiropractor Rob Hasegawa — a friend and fellow Olympic support team member — described her as someone who gave her heart and soul to her practice.

Triathlon Canada lauded her in a statement on Facebook. “Kim played a critical role in ensuring our athletes were healthy and fully prepared to achieve excellence each time they hit the start line,” the statement said. “Kim was a true professional, a great teammate and a very dear friend.”

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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