photos of the April 2010 crash
Recently, a businessman from Coquitlam, Jim Van Rassel, obtained some information that prompted his attention to look a little deeper into the traffic accident involving Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts in April of 2010. I spoke with Van Rassel today about his information surrounding the incident.
At the time of the accident, media reports varied greatly on the details. Police initially told reporters from several different news outlets, of which archived copies of those articles remain, that Watt’s car was T-boned, something that has been again recently repeated in media reports of Watts horseback riding accident in the interior by The Province and The Sun.
( Two reporters from the Province printed a correction in a subsequent edition after a complaint was made by a reader of this site who is a former police officer, the Sun has not and the story remains unchanged) I also brought the contradictory statements made up with the CBC Ombudsman, detailed in this post : http://lailayuile.com/2011/08/09/and-the-media-story-continues-that-the-mayors-car-was-broadsided/
It was also reported that police believed Watts had the green light,despite the fact they were continuing their investigation ,and did so for several months.
But questions remained. The husband of the other driver repeatedly stated publically that his wife insisted she had the green light, that the mayor T-boned her car, not the other way around, as stated in this story the Chilliwack Times.
SURREY – How do they know the mayor had a green light?
That’s what Les Redekopp would like to know. His wife, Shawnene, 55, was driving a sedan involved in a collision with an SUV driven by Mayor Dianne Watts last Friday night.
“How can they tell she had the green? She T-boned my wife; not the other way around. There were no skid marks or anything. Usually when somebody runs a red light, they T-bone the other car,” Redekopp told the Now Wednesday.
“Mind you, I’m not saying it didn’t happen. It’s just that, according to my wife, she said, ‘I was going through on a green light.’”
On Monday, Surrey RCMP Const. Peter Neily told the Now, “We do have information that the eastbound SUV was proceeding on a green light. There’s no indication at this time that alcohol was involved.”
Redekopp said he’s not out to get the mayor.
“I like the mayor. It’s just that there’s all this stuff being put out there about how my wife T-boned them and it’s not true. I’m trying to talk to the police and they’re not calling me back. Meanwhile, my wife’s in Vancouver General going through operation after operation.
Redekopp said he’s frustrated by the lack of information coming from both the RCMP and the mayor about what happened that night.
Tara Foslien handles communications for Watts.
“The reason the mayor’s not doing any media calls right now is that the doctors have her on morphine for the pain and she’s not feeling up to it. She’s not being secretive or anything.”
Police say Watts was driving her white Cadillac SUV east on 24th Avenue with husband, Brian, in the passenger seat, when it collided with a dark-coloured sedan heading north on 128th Avenue around 11 p.m. Watts suffered a cracked rib and both she and Brian sustained soft-tissue injuries.
Shawnene Redekopp is in Vancouver General Hospital recovering from her injuries. Doctors removed her spleen and are treating her for a swollen pancreas, broken ribs, a broken collarbone and fluid buildup in her lungs.
At one point, Redekopp said, surgeons thought they would have to remove Shawnene’s pancreas, but exploratory surgery revealed it could likely be saved. Now, he said, they’re just keeping an eye on the organ and waiting for all the swelling to subside.
“At one point, she said to me, ‘I’m going to die,’ because of the pancreas. I said, ‘You’re not going to die.’ You worry. I don’t care about the vehicle, you can always get another car, but the people…you worry.”
A Surrey RCMP spokesman said the investigation into the collision continues and no new information was available.
Watts is recovering at home.”
This is a link to the same article, but less edited that contains a statement from the police http://issuu.com/canwestcommunitypublishing/docs/sryfri20100430
In July of last year, police issued a ticket to the driver of the other vehicle for failing to stop at an intersection red light and the story seemed to end there.
However, while the majority of media reports had quoted RCMP as stating Redekopp had T-boned the mayors SUV, one report said something different:
“Police have said Watts had a green light when her vehicle T-boned a car driven by a second woman at the intersection of 24th Avenue and 128th Street in South Surrey”
Did the other reporters get it all wrong when speaking with the RMCP and city staff? Or were they given inaccurate information?
In contacting Richmond court services, which handles the provincial traffic violations, they were unable to locate a red light violation ticket for Shawnene Redekopp entered into their system, which would indicate if one was issued, it was not disputed.
Further inquiries indicate JUSTIN does not show this violation ticket either.
Another possibility, albeit less likely, is that the ticket was void due to an error made by the issuing officer on the ticket, which had and does occur with more frequency than one might guess.
In the statement of claim filed by Ms. Redekopp, it is alleged that Mayor Watts ran the red light and hit Redekopp.
It is also alleged that Watts was driving with undue dare and caution, excessive speed for the conditions,and that her ability to drive was impaired by drugs, alcohol or fatigue.( It was raining heavily that evening and roads were wet.)
Watts and her husband, Bryan -who is also named in the suit - deny all allegations in their statement of defence.
The lawsuit was filed December 8th, 2010, shortly after Watts announced she would not be running for the Liberal leadership, citing the importance of family commitments.
* Update April 14th, 2012. from CKNW:
|Lawsuit against Surrey mayor going to court next year
Laura Baziuk | Email news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org
4/14/2012A lawsuit against Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts is going to court next year.Shawnene Redekopp is suing the mayor after the two were involved in a car crash.In April 2010, Watts and her husband were heading home from a work event when their SUV collided with Redekopp’s vehicle at 128th Street and 24th Avenue.All three were taken to hospital.Police at the time said alcohol was not a factor.
There have been conflicting reports on who had the green light and who t-boned who.
Redekopp is suing the mayor for driving without due care, among other allegations — which have not been proven in court.
The matter is set to go to trial in October 2013.