With the one year statute of limitation for filing charges in motor vehicle incidents approaching, the Whistler RCMP has completed its investigation into the death of 24-year-old Australian resort worker Eleanor Reinecke.
Reinecke was killed after being struck by a taxi just after 3 a.m. on Jan. 6. She was walking along the highway just north of Lorimer with her back to traffic, in slushy, wet conditions when the incident happened. According to reports the taxi first swerved to avoid her, then swerved back in her direction to avoid an oncoming car. Reinecke, who was walking on the highway side of the fog line, was struck from behind.
No charges have been laid against the driver, who cannot be identified at this time, but the RCMP confirmed that they have recommended charges of Driving without Reasonable Consideration to the Crown, which may accept or reject the charges or make alternate charges based on the police report.
If the RCMP's recommended charges are approved the driver could face a fine and lose six points under provincial law.
The allegations have not been proven in court.
The police investigated the incident, as well as the circumstances that led to Reinecke walking on the highway in the opposite direction of her home at such a late hour - and why she wasn't on the Valley Trail running parallel to the highway.
Earlier in the evening she attended a New Year's Eve party for Milestones' staff, held six days after Dec. 31 because most employees of the restaurant were working on New Year's Eve. Reinecke arrived in Whistler in November with her boyfriend, and was working at Milestones and Castro's Cuban Cigar Store.
Reinecke's parents were surprised to learn of the new developments, but have been following the investigations closely.
"The last 10 months have been the worst in my life, as you can imagine," said Penny Bamforth in an email exchange. "The loss of our precious daughter has been like a nightmare that I keep hoping I will awaken from."
Bamforth's family is coming to Whistler in the New Year and will hold a memorial on Jan. 6 to mark the one year anniversary of Reinecke's death.
The incident has prompted a new program called Walk Safe that will focus on pedestrian safety after dark - such as making yourself visible, walking against traffic instead of with traffic and taking the Valley Trail whenever possible.