Skip to content

Car slams into pole, leaves B.C. homeowner stuck in the dark weeks later

GoFundMe launched after insurance complications leave family short of what’s needed to restore power
Laurie Whyte

More than a month has passed since a driver crashed into Laurie Whyte’s property, setting off a chain of events that has left the Vancouver Island homeowner facing numerous challenges.

The incident, which occurred on Dec. 7 in Sooke, not only severed a utility pole but caused substantial damage to Whyte’s house, fence, and electrical infrastructure, leaving her and her daughter without power.

While ICBC has stepped in to cover some of the damages, their assistance falls short of the full amount needed for repairs.

The estimated cost for complete restoration exceeds $18,500, and ICBC has committed to covering only $9,760, leaving Whyte in a financial bind.

READ: Sooke homeless camp sparks fear with another park fire

READ: Proposed solar farm near Sooke expected to power 20,000 homes

“We don’t have enough money to do the repairs,” said Whyte, a library assistant at the University of Victoria.

The aftermath of the accident has taken a toll on the daily life of the Whyte family.

Blocked roads and emergency personnel greeted them when they returned home on the day of the crash. Despite B.C. Hydro replacing the utility pole, the house remained without power due to severed connections, leaving the family in the dark and cold for the first night. Unable to leave due to their animals, the subsequent weeks saw the family relying on a costly generator to provide light and heat.

The challenges continued to mount when, on New Year’s Eve, Whyte’s dog, Shaye, suffered an injury requiring an emergency veterinary visit that cost $2,500.

In the midst of these setbacks, an electrical contractor engaged by Whyte determined that repairing the house wasn’t feasible due to its deteriorating condition. Complicating matters, ICBC insurance coverage does not extend to cover costs resulting from pre-existing maintenance issues with a house.

Whyte has lived in a trailer for several years securing power from the home.

However, in the face of adversity, a potential solution emerged. The contractor suggested installing a new electrical pole on Whyte’s property with a direct connection to her trailer – a fix that would cost roughly $5,000.

To help Whyte regain a sense of normalcy, Jozsef Guraly started a GoFundMe page to raise the necessary funds.

“She has a lot of pride, and was embarassed to do anything on her own. But she’s in a terrible situation,”Guraly said.