Worn tires contributed to Malahat crash, says coroner

A badly worn set of tires contributed to the fatal Malahat crash that prompted the province to embark on $15 million worth of safety upgrades, a coroner’s report says.

Kloie Jamisola, 16, Pheap Top, 30, and Diane Bocacao, 19, died on Oct. 14, 2012, when the vehicle they were in went into a counter-clockwise rotation before colliding with a pickup in the oncoming lane.

Their Honda CRV was split in two pieces. Two other passengers, including Top’s sixyear-old daughter, were taken to hospital but survived the crash near Whittaker Road in Shawnigan Lake. Everyone in the vehicle was from Nanaimo.

The three passengers in the pickup truck were also taken to hospital.

A coroner’s report on the deaths, released Thursday, said rain had made the roads slick.

A mechanical inspection showed the Honda CRV, which was being driven by Top, had zero to 3.0 millimetres of tread depth on its rear tires, causing the vehicle to slide sideways.

"Any braking or steering on the part of the driver with tires in this condition would have caused the vehicle to go into a rotation," the report said.

The tread depth on new tires averages 7.9 to 8.7 mm, the report said, noting that the

tread was below the built-in wear indicators, signalling the tires should have been replaced.

Top had been licensed to drive for less than a year, and her inexperience in handling a hydroplaning vehicle was deemed a factor in the crash.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is carrying out improvements between south Shawnigan Road and the Malahat summit including a narrowing point in the road where traffic in both directions must merge from two lanes to one. Centre-line medians are also being added.