Report reviews fatal accident

Coroner reveals findings into the death of a local couple on Westside Road in 2014

Slightly more than a year after the accident, a coroner’s report has been issued in the deaths of a Vernon couple who were travelling on Westside Road on a Harley Davidson Road King motorcycle.

Provincial coroner Margaret Janzen said in her reports that Bryan Tycko Thor, 57, the driver of the motorcycle, and his passenger, his wife, Carol Joyce Thor, 61, died of multiple blunt force trauma after an incident shortly after 9 p.m. on April 13, 2014.

Janzen also said a toxicology exam on the driver of the bike showed an alcohol level of .14 per cent, consistent with a moderate level of intoxication, as well as a non-lethal amount of cocaine.

“Intoxication with ethyl alcohol and cocaine was considered to be contributory (to the accident),” said Janzen, who classified the Thors’ deaths as accidental and made no recommendations.

In her reports, Janzen said the Thors were northbound on Westside Road just south of Mary’s Emerald Bay Road on Bryan Thor’s 1997 Road King Harley Davidson bike when an approaching 2003 Volvo SUV travelling southbound attempted to pass another vehicle by driving into the northbound lane.

There was a solid yellow line for northbound traffic and a broken yellow line for southbound traffic stated Janzen, and there were no view obstructions for either lane of travel.

“Mr. Thor applied his rear brakes to avoid a collision with the SUV,” said Janzen. “The motorcycle went down on its side, ejecting Mr. Thor and his spouse.”

Bryan Thor tumbled down the runway and was run over by the SUV. Carol Thor tumbled down the roadway and into a ditch. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

The Thors were wearing DOT-approved helmets, jeans, leather clothing, boots and gloves.

An RCMP forensic collision reconstructionist determined that the motorcycle and the SUV did not collide.

“The reconstructionist was not able to determine a speed for the SUV due to a lack of a hard steering or braking application,” said Janzen. “The motorcycle left a skid mark in excess of 22 metres in length, and was determined to have been travelling a minimum of 66 km/h when the brakes were applied.”

The speed limit for that section of road is 60 km/h.

Weather conditions at the time of the accident were described as calm, with temperatures between 4-to-6 degrees Celsius.

“Twilight was turning to dark with clear, moonlit skies,” said Janzen. “The road surface was clean, dry pavement in good repair.”

The driver of the SUV was issued two Motor Vehicle Act violations for driving without due care and attention and unsafe passing on the left. Those matters remain before the courts.