Disclaimer: This story contains graphic content
SURREY, BC — A Good Samaritan from Surrey, BC, faces a huge cleaning bill after a shooting victim forced herself into her car and was taken to hospital.
The woman said she was traumatized by what happened and now feels abandoned by the system that should help her recover.
Given the sensitivity of the subject and concerns for her safety, CTV News has agreed to identify her under the pseudonym “Jane.”
A FIGHT OR FLIGHT SITUATION
The ordeal began Thursday night at 128A Street and 100th Avenue in Surrey.
Jane was driving her son home from an appointment when she encountered a badly injured man in distress.
In a panic, she told her son to get out of the car, make the short distance home with their family to safety, and call 911.
“I don’t have automatic locks on my car, so I couldn’t lock the doors,” she said.
At the time, she says the man got into her car without permission and demanded that she take him to the hospital.
“I really didn’t have time to think. I thought I was going to die,” she said. “I was afraid he would shoot me. Did he have a gun? I don’t know, do I?” She told CTV News in an interview the next morning.
She said the man was bleeding profusely and appeared to be missing his hand.
‘I didn’t know then, is he a bad guy? Is he a good guy?” she said.
Jane took the man to the emergency room at Surrey Memorial Hospital and he collapsed.
She wasn’t even told his name, but police later confirmed he was a 38-year-old man they knew.
THE BLOODY AFTERMATH
Jane was driven home from the hospital by the police.
She said her car was initially seized as evidence but was later returned to her driveway.
However, she was shocked at the condition it was returned to.
The interior was still covered in blood.
Large puddles covered the passenger seat and there were handprints on the door and steering wheel.
Jane said she’s traumatized, and she gets triggered every time she sees her car.
“It’s like a recording keeps going through my head,” she told CTV News
She cannot drive it in its current condition and her family is now paying the price.
“I haven’t been able to take my son to his appointments for his autism therapies,” Jane said, adding that he desperately needs them after seeing the man’s wounds and all the blood.
“He makes drawings of what the man’s arm looked like and things like that.”
The family doesn’t have many other options for getting him to appointments.
“He has such sensory problems, he can’t ride the bus, it drives him crazy. All the loud noises, whatever, he just loses it,” Jane explained.
WHO IS THE ACCOUNT?
Jane said investigators who recorded her statement told her to contact ICBC about having her car cleaned.
“ICBC, they say they don’t cover it,” she said.
The insurer later clarified to CTV News that this is because it does not have comprehensive coverage with ICBC.
“In general, in a situation like this, optional comprehensive auto insurance would cover the cost of repairing the vehicle for those customers who purchased it from ICBC or a private insurer,” the Crown Corporation wrote in an email statement.
ICBC said it advised Jane to contact Victim Services for support.
“To be clear, ICBC is not denying any claim from (Jane), but unfortunately there is no claim to consider based on her insurance coverage with us,” the statement added.
Janes said RCMP’s Victim Services have checked her several times but will not facilitate or pay for the cost of cleaning her vehicle, despite using it as evidence.
Instead, she was referred to the county’s Crime Victim Assistance Program.
“The role of our Surrey RCMP Victim Services staff is to provide crime victims/witness referrals to support resources, including but not limited to providing assistance applications to crime victims,” said Cpl. Vanessa Munn in an email to CTV News.
Munn said, however, that caseworkers cannot file a claim on behalf of an individual.
“I think maybe they should call instead of me, because they know all my information,” Jane said.
She said it is difficult to determine her next steps as she tries to process what has happened to her.
“I’m so confused I can’t even speak properly, you know? So I don’t know, it’s very difficult. It’s traumatizing,” she says.
HOPE AND WAIT
The CVAP program provides financial benefits to offset financial losses and aid in recovery.
That includes advice, transportation and related costs, and crime scene cleanup.
However, Jane will have to pay for the services first and then wait to be refunded, and there is no guarantee her application will be approved.
“If a claim is accepted for benefits, the Crime Victim Assistance Program can pay for the services upon receipt of the bill directly from the service provider,” the Department of Public Security and the Solicitor General said in an email to CTV News.
Since Jane is a single mother with a disability, she cannot afford to pay the bill up front.
“I feel like I’m the victim, totally. I am the victim and I am stuck with this mess and how do I proceed?”
Her loved ones are also frustrated with the process.
“No one is willing to take responsibility for the situation, and meanwhile, it’s not her fault that this happened,” her friend Brandon Ward said.
Ward said that putting a victim through this kind of process sends the wrong message to Good Samaritans.
“When you look back and see what she went through, why would anyone want to stop and help someone who knows this can happen?” asked Ward.
“In a way, I feel like yes, I’m being punished for it,” Jane said.
The family is now fundraising hoping to cover the cleaning, but says they never thought trying to do the right thing would come at such a steep price.