Disclaimer: This story contains graphic content
SURREY, B.C. – A Good Samaritan from Surrey, B.C., is facing a massive cleaning bill after a shooting victim forced himself inside her car and demanded to be taken to hospital.
The woman said she’s traumatized by what happened, and now feels abandoned by the system that’s supposed to help her recover.
Given the sensitivity of the subject matter and concerns for her safety, CTV News has agreed to identify her by the pseudonym “Jane.”
A FIGHT OR FLIGHT SITUATION
The ordeal began on 128A Street and 100th Avenue in Surrey Thursday night.
Jane was driving her son home from an appointment when she came across a badly injured man in distress.
Panicked, she told her son to get out of the car, run the short distance home to safety with their family, and call 911.
“I don’t have automatic locks on my car, so I couldn’t lock the doors,” she said.
That’s when she says the man got inside her car without permission and demanded she drive him to the hospital.
“I really didn’t have time to think. I thought I was gonna die,” she said. “I was scared that he was going to shoot me. Did he have a gun? I don’t know, right?” She told CTV News in an interview the following morning.
She said the man was bleeding profusely and appeared to be missing his hand.
“I didn’t know at the time, is he a bad guy? Is he a good guy?” she said.
Jane got the man to the emergency room at Surrey Memorial Hospital and he collapsed.
She never even got his name, but police later confirmed he was a 38-year-old man that was known to them.
THE BLOODY AFTERMATH
Jane was driven home from the hospital by 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 in.
The interior was still soaked in blood.
Large pools covered the passenger seat, and there were handprint smears on the door and steering wheel.
Jane said she’s traumatized, and that she’s triggered every time she sees her car.
“It’s like a recording going over and over and over in my head,” she told CTV News
She’s unable to drive it in its current condition, and her family is now paying the price.
“I’ve not been able to take my son to his appointments for his autism therapies,” said Jane, adding that he needs them badly after seeing the man’s wounds and all the blood.
“He’s drawing pictures of what the man’s arm looked like and stuff like that.”
The family doesn’t have many other options for getting him to appointments.
“He has such sensory issues, he cannot go on the bus, it freaks him out. Any loud sounds, anything like that, he just loses it,” explained Jane.
WHO FOOTS THE BILL?
Jane said investigators who took her statement told her to get in touch with ICBC about getting her car cleaned.
“ICBC, they say they don’t cover it,” she said.
The insurer later clarified to CTV News that’s because she does not have comprehensive coverage with ICBC.
“Generally, in a situation like this, optional comprehensive auto insurance would cover the cost of repairing the vehicle for those customers who have purchased it from either 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 a 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 has checked in on her several times, but will not be facilitating or paying for the cost of cleaning her vehicle, despite it being used as evidence.
She was instead referred to the province’s Crime Victim Assistance Program.
“The role of our Surrey RCMP Victim Services caseworkers is to provide victims/witnesses of crime referrals to support resources, which includes but is not limited to providing Crime Victim Assistance applications,” said Cpl. Vanessa Munn in an email to CTV News.
However, Munn said caseworkers cannot submit a claim on behalf of an individual.
“I feel that maybe they should make the phone calls instead of me, knowing all my information,” said Jane.
She said trying to determine her next steps has been daunting as she tries to come to terms with what happened to her.
“I’m so screwed up in my head that I can’t even speak properly, you know? So I don’t know, it’s very hard. It’s traumatizing,” she said.
HOPE AND WAIT
The CVAP program provides financial benefits to help offset financial losses and assist in recovery.
That includes counselling, transportation and related expenses, and crime scene cleaning.
However, Jane will have to pay for the services up front and then wait to be reimbursed, and there’s no guarantee her application will be approved.
“Where a claim has been accepted for benefits, the Crime Victim Assistance Program is able to pay for services upon receipt of the invoice directly from the service provider,” said the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General in an email to CTV News.
Because Jane is a single mom on disability, she can’t afford to pay the bill up front.
“I feel like I’m victimized, totally. I’m victimized and I’m stuck with this crap and how do I move on?”
Her loved ones are also frustrated with the process.
“No one’s willing to take responsibility for the situation, and meanwhile, it’s not her fault that this happened,” said her friend Brandon Ward.
Ward said putting a victim through this kind of process, sends the wrong message to Good Samaritans.
“Looking back on it and seeing what she’s gone through, why would anybody want to stop and help somebody knowing that this can happen?” questioned Ward.
“In a way I feel yeah, I’m being punished for it,” said Jane.
The family is now fundraising hoping to cover the cleaning, but says they never imagined trying to do the right thing would come at such great a cost.