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Woman claims trauma, injury from Port Mann 'ice bombs'

One of the images of smashed windshields that circulated on social media after ice fell from Port Mann Bridge cables onto vehicles below on Dec. 19, 2012.  - Twitter.com/Randi_Realtor
One of the images of smashed windshields that circulated on social media after ice fell from Port Mann Bridge cables onto vehicles below on Dec. 19, 2012.
— image credit: Twitter.com/Randi_Realtor

A Delta woman who says she was hit in the head by falling ice bombs on the Port Mann Bridge in a notorious 2012 incident is suing the province's Transportation Investment Corp. for negligence.

Caryl-Lee Obrecht's claim in B.C. Supreme Court says she was injured when large sheets of ice fell from the bridge's cables and punched through the roof of the family car around noon on Dec. 19, 2012.

The first ice chunk smashed the windshield of the eastbound Ford Focus soon after it started over the newly opened toll bridge, according to lawyer Veronica Milne-Medved, who said Obrecht's husband, the driver, had to stick his head out the window to navigate the rest of the bridge.

A second ice bomb caved in the car's sunroof and a third punched right through it and hit Obrecht in the head, the lawyer said.

"The whole roof was bowing in and she had to lay on her back in a reverse pike position and put her two feet up to stabilize the roof so they could make it off the remainder of the bridge," Milne-Medved said. "It was a nightmare, an absolute nightmare."

Obrecht, who lost "quite a bit of blood" in the car, was taken to Surrey Memorial Hospital and treated for concussion and released home.

The car was one of several written off due to damage from falling ice that day.

But Milne-Medved believes Obrecht's injuries are the worst.

She said her client continues to suffer from a constellation of post-concussion symptoms 18 months later.

Obrecht, a Surrey School District administrator, continues to receive ongoing medical treatment, according to her claim, and suffered lost income as a result of the injuries, which are alleged to include concussion, scalp lacerations, neck and shoulder injury, headaches, nightmares and post-traumatic stress.

The TI Corp. has not yet filed a response.

After the 2012 incident, engineers installed a system of brushes and scrapers that are winched up and down the cables to remove snow and ice build-up during the winter.

ICBC paid out more than $400,000 in damages after receiving 350 claims for vehicle damage.

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