Mom of party bus victim: ‘There are still not enough safeguards in place’
Vancouver police are trying to figure out how a young woman fell to her death off a party bus in the downtown area on Saturday night.
The bus was travelling west on West Hastings Street and making a left turn onto Burrard when the 23-year-old fell out and was run over by the same vehicle.
Now, the mother of a teenager who died on a party bus in 2008 is speaking out.
Sixteen-year-old Shannon Raymond died from a mix of alcohol and ecstasy while on the bus and her mother says no more families should have to suffer this kind of loss.
“It ripped my heart out,” says Julie Raymond. “It took me back to the day when I answered that doorbell and was met with two RCMP officers to tell me about Shannon’s death. That nightmare has now unfolded on another family’s doorstep.”
In February of last year, B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation issued a new set of regulations for limousine and party bus operators in the province.
Under the new guidelines, all limousine operators with perimeter seating vehicles, such as stretch SUVs and limo-buses, must have each vehicle in their fleet approved by the Passenger Transportation Board.
That includes perimeter seating specialty vehicles that deliver party bus service.
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone promised at the time there would be a much more extensive review process for all party bus operators prior to them receiving licences to make them more accountable.
WATCH: Julie Raymond talks about the need for more safety regulations in the party bus industry.
But Julie Raymond says not enough safeguards are still in place.
“We are lobbying to have mandatory chaperons at the back of the bus with the partiers,” she says. “In Shannon’s case, if there was a sober adult at the back of that bus, they would have noticed Shannon’s health deteriorating.”
Raymond says it is not reasonable for the operator or driver of the vehicle to be focused on the safety of the passengers and equipment when there are dozens of people partying behind him or her.
Shannon Raymond’s sister Danielle says their pain never goes away, and incidents like the one this weekend just elevate their frustration.
“It is so senseless. It is a relatively easy thing to address, and it seems everyone wants to just not address it, so that’s very frustrating,” she says.
It’s not yet known whether alcohol or equipment failure played a role in the weekend’s death. Vancouver police collision investigation unit is currently working on the case.