May 23, 2014 10:44 pm

Two lawsuits filed over 2012 Port Mann ‘ice bombs’

WATCH (above): A Delta woman is suing the company that runs the Port Mann Bridge over the notorious ice bombs that fell from the span’s cables in 2012. In the other, a civilian employee of the Vancouver police department has also named the companies that designed and built the bridge. Geoff Hastings has more.

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Two lawsuits have been filed in connection with the day ‘ice bombs’ or large chunks of ice and snow fell from the cable of the new $3 billion Port Mann bridge more than a year ago.

More than 300 vehicles were damaged in the incident on December 19, 2012 and ICBC dealt with a handful of insurance claims. In August 2013 ICBC said they settled the claims for around $400,000 in damages to vehicles.

Now two women have come forward with lawsuits due to the ‘ice bombs’.

One lawsuit involves Roberta Lessard, who alleges negligence led to her and hundreds of other motorists being trapped on the bridge deck, unable to avoid the rain of frozen debris.  Lessard is claiming lasting physical and mental injury.

For Caryl-Lee Obrecht, she says she was a passenger in her family’s Ford Focus when it was hit by three pieces of ice. Obrecht claims the first two shattered the windshield and sunroof and the third struck her on the head.  After that she says she was bleeding from her head and had to lay on her back and hold up the roof of the vehicle with her legs,  so her husband could drive to the other side of the bridge.

Lawyers for both women say the physical injuries were relatively minor in comparison to the mental anguish and suffering they’ve experienced since the incident in December 2012.

The lawyer for Lessard said the trauma of the event was so terrifying that she was off work for a couple of months.

“She couldn’t travel on the bridge at all and then when she could eventually travel on the bridge, she found she could only go over the bridge if she had someone else driving,” said David Greig, South Coast Law Group. “It was  about a year before she was able to drive over the bridge alone again.”

According to Obrecht’s lawyer, she suffered some blood loss and a concussion from being hit on the head and since the accident has had general anxiety, trouble sleeping and driving anxiety.

A solution was eventually found to stop the chunks of ice from forming and falling onto passing vehicles.

More lawsuits could be coming as there’s a two-year limit to file. The deadline to file would be December 19, 2014.

~ with files from Geoff Hastings

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