News

Charges laid in 2016 Mission crash that killed Langley teenager

Langley Advance Times

By Monique Tamminga

Lidia Ramos died when the car she was riding in slipped off a logging road in heavy rain

Two years after a crash on a logging road near Mission claimed the life of Langley teenager Lidia Ramos, charges have been laid against the vehicle’s driver.

Jacob Ross Blanthorne, 23, has now been charged with two counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.

Lidia’s mom and other family members attended Abbotsford Provincial Court on Thursday to be a presence for Lidia.

But Blanthorne didn’t show up, said Lidia’s mom Angela. A bench warrant for his arrest was issued on Feb. 5, but was re-issued Feb. 22.

Lidia was supposed to celebrate her sweet 16th birthday the week she died in a crash along a logging road in Mission, on March 5, 2016.

Lidia, who was in Grade 10 at Brookswood Secondary, had told her mom she was sleeping over at a friend’s house, but instead went to a bonfire party near Stave Falls in Mission.

There was a torrential downpour at the time of the crash — around 1 a.m. The vehicle slid 15 feet down an embankment and came to rest with its roof against a tree, said Mission RCMP at the time.

The impact of the crash was greatest on the driver’s side, where Lidia was sitting in the backseat, said her mom.

The driver, who was then a 21-year-old Langley man, had reportedly lost control on the muddy switchbacks before sliding off road. At the time, Mission RCMP said speed was believed to be a factor.

Lidia died at the scene. The 16-year-old Langley youth sitting beside her was left in a coma. He suffered several broken bones and other injuries, but survived.

Both the driver and the front-seat passenger, a 19-year-old man from Surrey, suffered upper body injuries and were taken to hospital.

Near the one year anniversary of Lidia’s death, the Ramos family and their friends started a campaign called #Justice for Lidia on change.org. At the time, Angela Ramos said she was upset that no charges had been laid and that the driver had never tried to reach out to her.

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About the BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society

‘In Their Name’ is the campaign of ‘The BC Wrongful Death Law Reform Society’ – a BC registered non-profit organization comprised of volunteer families who have lost a loved one to wrongful death in BC and were denied access to justice. In response to the biggest human rights issue facing the province today, our goal is to modernize British Columbia’s antiquated wrongful death legislation, which predates confederation (1846). Under current legislation, the value of a human life is measured only by the deceased’s future lost income, so long as they had dependents.

As a result of the province’s antiquated law, access to justice has been denied to the families of the wrongfully killed who do not meet this discriminatory criteria. This has affected especially vulnerable groups, namely children, seniors, the disabled, and anyone without dependents when they are killed by the negligent or intentional acts of another.

BC is presently the last of all the provinces, yet to have undertaken this critical legislative modernization to allow for dignity, value, and protections for all its citizens under the law.

When it’s ‘free’ to kill in BC, wrongdoers are not held accountable. This lack of general deterrence holds the province back in terms of incentivizing innovation of safety measures and protocols to prevent wrongful deaths in the first place.


Here’s How You Can Get Involved…

The Attorney General of British Columbia, David Eby, is the Minister responsible for the ‘Family Compensation Act’ – the guiding piece of legislation that the civil courts must follow in cases of wrongful death. Minister Eby receives feedback from the regional ‘Members of the Legislative Assembly’ (MLAs) and follows orders from the Premier, John Horgan.

Reform is presently at a standstill, as the BC NDP government does not presently view access to justice for the surviving family members of the wrongfully killed as a priority in this province. This is despite the fact that the families behind our Society have been fighting for modernization for over two decades. And despite the fact that all other provinces, including the Yukon, have already modernized in most cases long ago.

The only way to move this forward is by creating massive public awareness and outcry for legislative modernization. Only under the scrutiny of the public and the media will our politicians be forced to take this necessary, and long overdue action.

How many more people will need to die from the same preventable wrongful actions before our politicians will do their job?

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