The late Const. Sarah Beckett’s stocking hangs on the fireplace in her husband, Brad Aschenbrenner’s home. He and his two sons put it up every year in her memory and place cards in it. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

The late Const. Sarah Beckett’s stocking hangs on the fireplace in her husband, Brad Aschenbrenner’s home. He and his two sons put it up every year in her memory and place cards in it. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Husband of Const. Sarah Beckett says ICBC apology not enough

‘How do you have a duty of care to your killer?’ asks widower

Brad Aschenbrenner’s home is filled with photos and memories of his late wife, Const. Sarah Beckett.

Two large pictures of Beckett smiling hang on the wall near the dining table. One of the photos is surrounded by notes of condolence and love from community members, written around the time she died.

Aschenbrenner decorated the home for Christmas. He and his two sons, eight-year-old Lucas and five-year-old Emmitt, hung a stocking for Beckett filled with cards and unscratched lottery tickets from them.

“The first Christmas without her was unbearable,” Aschenbrenner said. “The second one was unbearable but after a tragic loss like this, you start piecing stuff together the best you can. But it doesn’t seem like this is letting us out.”

Aschenbrenner was pointing to print-outs of news stories published the day before about the Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) claiming Beckett was negligent when she was killed after being struck by a drunk driver.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: ICBC retracts claim that Const. Sarah Beckett was negligent when hit by drunk driver

In 2016, Beckett, a 32-year-old mother of two boys, had recently returned from maternity leave when she was killed in the line of duty in Langford. One year later, Kenneth Jacob Fenton was handed a four-year prison sentence for charges of impaired driving and dangerous driving causing death.

Beckett was killed after her police cruiser was struck by Fenton’s pickup truck which was speeding through the intersection of Peatt Road and Goldstream Avenue.

Fenton’s blood-alcohol level was three-and-a-half times the legal limit. He was already being pursued by an RCMP officer in a different police vehicle because his taillights were not illuminated and he was travelling almost double the 50 kilometres per hour posted speed limit.

In March 2018, the Attorney General of Canada filed a claim against Fenton and ICBC in an effort to recoup the costs of Beckett’s damaged RCMP cruiser. In a response, ICBC denied facts in the claim and said the cause of the crash was Beckett’s negligence.

While at the grocery store on Friday, Aschenbrenner received a message from a friend alerting him to a story that was published about ICBC’s claim.

“I just saw the headline and I froze, I couldn’t move,” Aschenbrenner said. “Why, on Dec. 20, five days before Christmas, was this released? And why was I not contacted?”

Aschenbrenner said seeing a negative story about Beckett without being warned was difficult, especially during a time when he’s trying to put on a happy face for his sons before the holidays. While he said he understands news stories have to be reported, he said the timing of this and the inability to serve as a voice for Beckett in the story was what he didn’t understand.

READ ALSO: ‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after Const. Beckett’s killer gets day parole

Since Aschenbrenner wasn’t involved in the civil suit, he did not previously know the details of it.

ICBC accused Beckett of 14 allegations including “failing to keep a proper or any lookout,” “failing to see the defendant’s motor vehicle at a reasonable time” and “failing to give warning by sounding the horn.” ICBC also said Beckett had a duty of care to Fenton.

These statements were later retracted by ICBC with an apology. The corporation said its counsel was instructed to amend their defence to admit Fenton is fully liable for the crash.

Holding the news articles in his hand, Aschenbrenner read out some of ICBC’s allegations with tears in his eyes.

“How do you have a duty of care to your killer?” Aschenbrenner asked. “Sarah’s killer was sentenced in 2017. A year later they still say it’s Sarah’s fault. It’s too late to apologize. I’m not going to accept that.”

Aschenbrenner said stories like this are not fair to him, his family, the RCMP and the first responders who wear their badge daily to defend the public.

He also said he didn’t want his sons to know these allegations came out.

“I don’t want them to have any doubt that this was not Sarah’s fault,” Aschenbrenner said. “We talk about her every day. I still have to instil how much of a special person, a mother, she was.”

Noting his thanks to community members for all of their support over the past years, Aschenbrenner said he’s still figuring out where to go from here.

“She sacrificed her life for us and we need to remember that,” Aschenbrenner said. “They need to answer to this and not just say ‘I’m sorry.’”

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man was issued a $230 fine after refusing to wear a mask inside a Central Saanich business. (Central Saanich Police Services/Twitter)
Man issued fine after refusing to mask up in Central Saanich business

$230 ticket issued under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act

Aragon Properties’ proposed development for the corner of Cook and Pendergast streets in Cook Street Village was voted down by Victoria city council on Thursday night after a public hearing. (File contributed/ City of Victoria)
Lack of affordable housing spells end for Cook Street Village project in Victoria

Council narrowly defeats proposal for four-storey building on former Pic-A-Flic Video site

(Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Second driver facing impaired charges after View Royal traffic stop leads to loaded firearms

West Shore RCMP stop swerving motorist and Saanich woman who came to pick her up

Classes are cancelled at Royal Bay Secondary School and other schools Nov. 30 due to power outages. (Black Press Media file photo)
Classes cancelled across the West Shore, Sooke due to power outages

Students can be picked up but facilities remain open

Victoria police issued tickets to two Victoria party hosts Saturday night, according to VicPD Chief Del Manak. (Unsplash)
Victoria partiers hid in closets, bedrooms in an attempt to avoid fines

Police gave out COVID-19 tickets to two separate parties

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

Vehicles drive past a display thanking essential workers in Burnaby, B.C. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
B.C. changing COVID-19 case reporting as virus spread continues

Manual counting takes more time, leads to errors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Fatty Legs co-author responds to Abbotsford class assignment on residential schools

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Most Read