Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)

Lower Mainland cop awarded almost $3.2 million for 2 car crashes

Jeffery Neufeldt of Mission was injured on the job in collisions in 2013 and 2016

An RCMP officer who lives in Mission has been awarded almost $3.2 million in damages from two car crashes that occurred while he was on the job.

The decision in favour of Jeffery Neufeldt, 41, was rendered Mach 24 by Justice Kenneth Ball in B.C. Supreme Court in Chilliwack.

According to Ball’s written decision, the first crash occurred on Sept. 23, 2013, when Neufeldt was an RCMP constable assigned to patrol a Port Coquitlam neighbourhood that had been the scene of a stabbing earlier that day.

The documents state that Neufeldt was dispatched to a suspected domestic-violence incident at a private residence and, when he arrived, the suspect – Jude Marcellus – fled the scene in a 1990 Honda Civic.

Neufeldt followed the Civic, and saw it hit an unoccupied parked vehicle. The officer then boxed in the Honda, and Marcellus reversed it and ran into the front end of the police cruiser.

ALSO READ: Pedestrian struck on dark and rainy night in Abbotsford awarded $574,000

Marcellus was arrested, and police found that he was intoxicated and was in possession of brass knuckles and stolen property, according to the documents. A sawed-off shotgun and an improvised explosive device were found at his residence.

Marcellus later pleaded guilty to several offences and spent some time in jail and a psychiatric facility.

Neufeldt, meanwhile, suffered “musculoskeletal injuries to the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions of his spine, as well as chronic, continuing headaches,” Ball stated.

Neufeldt, married with four kids, was unable to return to work for six months, and, when he did, was given administrative desk duties. He continued to suffer from his injuries and “never fully recovered from the first accident,” according to the documents.

“He took prescribed medication in the form of naproxen and Tylenol 3 on a daily basis while working and was unable to drive a police vehicle for extended periods of time due to pain and the need to stretch frequently,” Ball wrote.

Neufeldt returned to full active duty in June 2015, although he was “still subject to the limitations and pain symptoms,” the documents state.

The second crash took place on May 30, 2016, when Neufeldt was a front-seat passenger in a police cruiser being driven by another officer, who was being trained by Neufeldt.

The pair were stopped at a red light when they were rear-ended. When they got out of the vehicle, the driver who had hit them reversed his car and sped away.

The pair followed the fleeing vehicle but lost sight of it, and a police dispatch broadcast alerted other officers across the Lower Mainland. “Choke points” were set up at main intersections around Coquitlam and on approaches to the Port Mann Bridge to Surrey.

Police were unable to locate the vehicle or the driver.

Neufeldt suffered “significant pain” in his hips, back and neck, and felt dizzy and nauseous immediately after the crash, the judge wrote.

He had suffered a concussion and, over the next several months, Neufeldt experienced ongoing headaches and neck and back pain “from which there was no relief,” Ball wrote in his decision.

Neufeldt also suffered from irritability, mood swings, short-term memory loss and sensitivity to loud noise and bright light.

Neufeldt’s treatment included physiotherapy, chiropractory, massage therapy and psychiatry, through which he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

Neufeldt briefly returned to work in April 2018, but he testified in court that he was, and would be, unable to perform all the duties of a police officer.

ALSO READ: Abbotsford cop arrests driver in Surrey after hit-and-run seriously hurts pedestrian

“The plaintiff testified he would be a hazard driving a police vehicle while also trying to detect driving infractions, listen to and respond to police calls, and deal with the in-vehicle computer,” Ball stated.

“He was also concerned about attending specific calls with split-second decision-making, particularly those involving decisions to arrest an individual or to use deadly force options.”

Testimony in court indicated that, had Neufeldt been able to continue working, he likely would have been promoted to the rank of corporal and later to sergeant before his expected retirement at age 62, which would provide him with his full pension.

Ball awarded Neufeldt $2.4 million for loss of future income. The remaining award covers expenses such as past wage loss, costs of future care and special damages.

Marcellus and ICBC were the main defendants in the lawsuit.

Cops and Courts

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

Just Posted

Delta playgrounds, basketball hoops, reopening June 1

Skate and bike parks in the city were reopened last week

Surrey to pay TransLink $30M in land, $9M in cash for work on cancelled LRT

Council considered staff report on city’s 2019 annual financial statements during Monday’s “virtual” council meeting

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

MAY 28: Playgrounds to reopen in Surrey, Peace Arch Park a hotspot for cross-border reunions

Surrey now has second urgent and primary care centre, in Newton, premier says

Premier John Horgan noted that some 90,000 people in Surrey don’t have a family doctor

B.C. retirement home creates innovative ‘meet-up’ unit for elderly to see family face-to-face

Innovative ‘purpose-built’ unit keeps residents safe when seeing family for first time since COVID-19

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

Aldergrove drive-in theatre to reopen at 50-vehicle capacity, gets green light on concession

100 cars of people will now watch films, hoping to adhere to new provincial health 50-car capacity

Fraser Health takes charge of COVID response at Langley Lodge

Fraser Health is also sending in a germ-killing machine to fight the virus

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Importance of accurate, ethical reporting more critical than ever

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Harrison Hot Springs Resort eases in to reopening

Reservations available Friday, May 29

Police stop Lower Mainland men with parachutes from jumping off Okanagan bridge

The men had parachutes in their backpacks, and indicated they were going to jump off a bridge

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

Most Read