School district sued over fatal crash near Summerland

Woman's car was sideswiped on Highway 97 in June 2011 accident that sent 10 people to hospital, including Penticton teacher and students

Elaine Tanner v. Borba Estate, SD 67, Jennifer Mitchell



Two people whose car was involved in a three-vehicle crash that killed a man and sent 10 others to hospital have filed a lawsuit against the Okanagan Skaha School District and one of its teachers.

The estate of John Borba is also named in the notice of claim filed in May in B.C. Supreme Court in Victoria.

On the day of the June 2011 crash on Highway 97 near Summerland, Borba’s car crossed the centre line and collided head-on with a bus carrying 14 students from Princess Margaret Secondary School.

Borba, 46, died at the scene, while nine students were sent to hospital along with Jennifer Mitchell, the pregnant teacher who was driving the 24-seat bus.

A coroner’s investigation later found the rear tires on Borba’s northbound Chrysler Cirrus were nearly bald and, combined with water on the road, likely resulted in his vehicle hydroplaning and sliding into the southbound bus, which was returning to Penticton from a field trip in Kelowna.

The third vehicle, an Oldsmobile Alero driven by Elaine Tanner, was also travelling southbound when it was sideswiped by the bus and pushed into the concrete guard along the road shoulder, according to the coroner’s report.

Tanner’s lawsuit alleges 27 separate acts of negligence on the part of the three defendants, including: Borba failing to maintain his lane and operating a vehicle he knew was defective; Mitchell failing to reduce the bus’s speed to avoid the crash; and the school district failing to have the bus properly serviced and maintained.

As a result, the notice of claim continues, Tanner sustained injuries to her left foot and back, experiences anxiety and difficulty sleeping, and has suffered pain, permanent disability, and a loss of earnings and enjoyment of life.

No monetary figure is listed in the lawsuit, but she is seeking general and special damages, plus costs for legal fees and health care.

Tanner was a triple-medalist in swimming for Canada at the 1968 Olympics. Her husband, John Watt, was in the car with her at the time of the accident and has also filed a lawsuit naming the same three defendants.

Replies to the lawsuits have not yet been filed. Watt told CTV News after the crash that he tried to help Borba, but was too late.

“The impact of that really upset me that I had to witness this poor young fellow’s death, but to his family: He didn’t feel any pain. It happened very quick and very suddenly,” Watt said.

Just Posted

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

Jann Arden will embark on Canada-wide tour Spring 2022 with a stop in Penticton at the South Okanagan Events Centre on June 13. (Contributed)
Jann Arden coming to Penticton in 2022

The Jann Arden Live! tour has been rescheduled for 2022

A storm watch has been issued for the Okanagan, Kootenays and Columbia regions of B.C. (Calvin Dickson photo)
Another severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for thunderstorms that may produce strong wind gusts, hail and heavy rain

The South Okanagan Tim Hortons raised over $4,000 through the three day orange doughnut promotion with 100 per cent of proceeds going to to the Residential School Survivors Society. The owner of these locations matched the amount. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
South Okanagan Tim Hortons raises over $8K for residential school survivors

More than $4,000 worth of doughnuts were purchased over three days

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Most Read