The family of a cyclist who was nearly killed in Port Coquitlam while riding home from work two years ago say their life has forever changed.
The wife and two children of Bruce Rickman, a 57-year-old bus driver who was struck late at night while biking along the Mary Hill bypass, said the’ve had to make many adjustments since the accident.
“It’s been very hard,” Bruce Rickman told reporters outside the provincial court in PoCo today (Friday) after the drunk driver was sentenced to 45 days behind bars, “but I’m here. It’s good to be above ground.”
During the sentencing of Sean McAllister— a 29-year-old respirational therapist now living in Prince George — Judge Eugene Jamieson spoke about the impact of the collision that left the Pitt Meadows man with a permanent brain injury that bars him from returning to work.
On July 30, 2014, Rickman was cycling home — with a blinking light on the back of his bicycle — when McAllister hit him on the east shoulder of the bypass, near Kingsway Avenue.
Earlier that night, the Ontario native had been celebrating with co-workers in Vancouver following a 12-hour shift and had consumed five pints of beer and a liquor shot, over a three-hour period.
He took a taxi to the Lougheed SkyTrain station, where his girlfriend had her vehicle parked.
The pair texted each other to decide if he should sleep in the car or cab it home, the judge said. Instead, McAllister made the “horrendous mistake” of getting behind the wheel, he read in his sentencing statement.
Because he was intoxicated, exhausted and it was late at night, McAllister didn’t see Rickman on the side of the road nor did the driver passing him in the next lane. In fact, McAllister had thought he had collided with a roadside barrier and drove away, the court heard.
As a result of the collision, Rickman was left alone — in the dark — with trauma to his head and body.
During their investigation, Coquitlam RCMP recovered parts of a side mirror at the scene and identified the vehicle as a 2006 or ’07 Toyota Tacoma.
Mounties were quick to issue a press release about the hit-and-run and Rickman’s wife, Twyla, made a plea for help to locate the driver while her husband lay in a coma at Royal Columbian Hospital.
Two weeks later, McAllister turned himself without legal representation and admitted to the crime.
McAllister was initially charged with three offences; however, he pleaded guilty to a charge of impaired driving causing bodily harm.
Judge Jamieson acknowledged McAllister was remorseful, had a clean record and, according to letters of reference, was a diligent employee. “I have no doubt he will be troubled by these events for the rest of his life,” the judge said.
Besides his conviction and one-year driving ban, McAllister will also have to pay back ICBC for costs incurred.
On Friday afternoon, Rickman stood beside his wife and children — Katrina, 20, and Jonathan, 21— to denounce drinking and driving.
“He made the wrong choice; I paid the price,” he said of McAllister. “It’s not a game. You can’t just roll the dice and see what happens. He should have known about the state that he was in. Forty-five days isn’t enough.”