Rain caused a washout of a section of Rumming Road in Lantzville in January and a car and driver plunged into the sinkhole. — Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department/Facebook photo

Woman who was caught in mudslide in Lantzville now suing for negligence

Lawsuit claims road maintenance a factor when car and driver plunged 20 metres into sinkhole

A Lantzville woman who inadvertently drove her vehicle into massive sinkhole earlier this year is taking legal action.

Karena Donnelly is suing for negligence after she was caught in a mudslide on a rainy night in January.

She was driving along Rumming Road in Lantzville in the early morning hours Jan. 29 when her vehicle suddenly plunged 20 metres down an embankment after heavy rains and a landslide had washed out the road and created a sinkhole.

Donnelly was rescued by Arrowsmith Search and Rescue a little more than an hour after her vehicle was turned upside down in the sinkhole.

RELATED: Woman rescued after mudslide in Lantzville

RELATED: Nanoose fire department sets up fund for woman caught in mudslide

She has now filed a notice of civil claim in the Supreme Court of British Columbia against the District of Lantzville, the Ministry of Transportation and Emcon Services Inc.

Her claim accuses the district, the province and Emcon of “failing to maintain” the road surface in safe condition, ensuring the road wouldn’t be washed away in the event of heavy rain, particularly when they “knew or should have known” that the road was unstable and unsafe for traffic, court documents show. The claim also blames the defendants for not putting any reflective or warning lights around the “unstable portion” of the Rumming Road and failing to maintain drainage structures, storm drains, catch basins and sumps near the roadway.

As a result of the incident, which took place on Jan. 29, Donnelly continues to suffer personal injuries, including anxiety, stress, headaches, sleeplessness and post traumatic stress disorder and has been unable to work, according to the claim.

Donnelly is seeking general and special damages and an undisclosed amount of financial compensation. Her attorney did not respond to a request for comment by the News Bulletin.

Ronald Campbell, the district’s chief administrative officer, said the municipality does not publicly comment on any litigation in which it is involved.



nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

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