A car accident Sunday evening on Highway 99 claimed the life of a popular Whistler Weasel Worker and member of the Vancouver Fire Department.
Roy Bissett, 49, was driving alone from Whistler to Vancouver March 3 after spending the weekend working to prepare the downhill course for this weeks Canadian championships.
Early Monday morning Bissetts wife, Gail, phoned Whistler friends he had been staying with to say he had not returned. Whistler RCMP were contacted at approximately 8:30 Monday morning and a search of Highway 99 was organized.
The search included RCMP members and Weasel Workers, who left the downhill course to scour the highway. Owen Carney, chief of course for the race, also organized Carneys Waste Systems drivers to watch for signs that a car had gone off the road.
Late Monday morning an RCMP helicopter pilot and observer spotted evidence that a vehicle had left Highway 99 near Magnesia Creek, just north of Lions Bay. Closer examination found a vehicle had gone over a guard rail and approximately 60 feet down an embankment.
Bissetts body was found in the car. He is believed to have died immediately from injuries caused by the impact of his car crashing down the embankment.
Friends said Bissett drank only pop before leaving Whistler, between 6 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. If he had driven straight through he would likely have been in the Lions Bay area between 7:15 and 8 p.m. Although there is often heavy traffic southbound on Highway 99 on Sunday evenings, traffic was apparently light last Sunday. No one reported seeking a car go off the road.
Bissett, who was diabetic, worked primarily in fire safety and prevention for the Vancouver Fire Department. Friends described him as easy going, low key and hard working. He also loved to cook.
Bissett had worked at numerous downhill races in Whistler over the years and was always one of the first Weasel Workers up the mountain in the morning and among the last to come off the hill at night. He was among a group of Weasel Workers who travelled to Utah last month to work on the Olympic downhill and super G.
Marlies Torrance, a Weasel Worker who was staying at the same cabin as Bissett last weekend, said he spent Saturday night talking about his wife Gail.
"He really loved her," Torrance said.