Chelsea Lynn Mist James died falling out of a limousine party bus more than four years ago now, that Tuesday was reported faulty by the BC Coroners Service.
In a report released today by coroner Cynthia Hogan blasted the company and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement unit in B.C. for what she described as “a long history of door malfunctions,” that lead up to the 23-year-old Langley woman’s accidental death.
James was one of 28 passengers in the 2008 bus that travelled from Surrey to Vancouver on Jan. 9, 2016. She and friends were standing near the exit door as it neared its destination in downtown Vancouver, and as the bus took a corner from West Hastings Street to Burrard Street, James fell down the stairs, hit the door, and fell out onto the road.
She was run over by the rear wheel of the bus. She died instantaneously, Hogan said.
Her death prompted an indepth investigation that resulted in a series of recommendations being issued by the BC Coroners Service today.
The carrier had been issued multiple repair orders dating back to March 2013.
A problem, specific to the passenger door in question, was reportedly a concern, and while there was no proof of repairs provided, Hogan said the governing CVSE agency gave the limo bus a passing grade multiple times in the subsequent years.
Post-crash inspections by CVSE and the Vancouver Police Department concluded that the mechanical condition of the bus prior to the incident “did not meet the standards” or the motor vehicle act and its regulations. In particular, the door would get stuck in the closed position intermittently, it would not fully close, and the door could be opened while moving.
The limo in question was subsequently sold after the accident, and the new owner reportedly replaced the entire door system.
“There have been no violations noted on the limousine’s door since having the door replace,” Hogan noted.
While the coroner classified James’ death as accidental, she issued a series of recommendations to the minister of transportation and infrastructure and the British Columbia Limousine Association. Among the recommendation, a call for consistent inspections, and moreover that action be taken against the carriers, if CVSE orders for repairs are not met.
• Stay tuned for the James family reaction
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