Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)

Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

The February 2020 deaths of three Sooke men who drowned in the Sooke River after their vehicle was swept away by the fast-running water were ruled accidental by the B.C. Corner Service in a report.

Investigators said there is no evidence foul play or intoxication was involved.

RELATED: Sooke River tragedy tinged by unanswered questions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, disappeared on Jan. 31, 2020, sparking a massive ground and air search.

The 2004 Dodge Dakota pickup truck they were riding in was discovered in the fast-moving Sooke River on Feb. 2, about one-kilometre downstream from the lower parking lot at the Sooke Potholes Regional Park entrance. The bodies of Mills and Blackmore were found the same day. Jensen’s body was found two days later, downstream from the pickup.

The report said it’s believed the three best friends were “puddle-jumping” the truck along Sooke River Road, which was covered in fast-moving water due to a heavy rainstorm.

Puddle-jumping is a popular pastime for Sooke youth when the river overflows and involves people driving their vehicles through large pools of standing water to see the water spray up along the sides of their vehicles.

The river had risen more than six metres that weekend, and the force of the running water was enough to pull the vehicle into the river and prevent self-rescue, the coroner said.

RELATED: 1,000 attend celebration of life for men who died in Sooke River

The coroner recommended access to the parking area leading to Sooke Potholes Regional Park be closed every night and during times of flooding.

The District of Sooke has implemented the recommendation.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

DeathSookeSooke Potholes

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

Just Posted

The East Kootenay Network of People Who Use Drugs is organizing a march to city hall on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, starting at 11 a.m. from the ANKORS office. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Advocates to march for overdose awareness, calls for action

B.C. declared the overdose crisis a public health emergency five years ago

Deer will often eat fruit that has fallen from fruit trees. The City’s bylaw states that residents must keep their yards free from fallen fruit. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Time to manage wildlife attractants, says City of Cranbrook

City reminds residents to keep yards free of fruit, pet food, food waste

Zeth Kindrachuk is pictured in action against the Trail Smoke Eaters in the Penticton pod, Saturday, April 10. Jack Murray photo
Bucks drop two to pod rivals

Cranbrook getting to know Penticton Vees, Trail Smoke Eaters, very well indeed.

TC Energy donated $2,000 to Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services to be used towards the purchase of footwear for wildland firefighting situations. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
TC Energy donates $2,000 towards specialized fire department gear

Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services is the recipient of a $2,000 grant… Continue reading

The KEYSA  Mr. Mike's Junior Players of the Week were Molly Cain and Avery Swain (pictured with Coach Rob Niedermayer).
KEYSA Players of the Week and team standings

League finals set for next week

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

Interior Health improves access to mental health supports amid COVID-19 pandemic. (Stock)
Interior Health connects people to mental health resources amid COVID

310-MHSU line receives positive feedback in early months of rollout

A volunteer disinfects a historical Mohabat Khan mosque ahead of the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
For Canadian Muslims, second pandemic Ramadan is a time of hope and sadness

Many members of the association are trying to find ways ‘to help people stay connected to one another’

South Surrey farmland, March 2020. The province’s crackdown on secondary residences sparked protests that have the NDP government engaged in a lengthy rewrite of its legislation. (Tracy Holmes/Peace Arch News)
B.C. NDP now wants to keep even ‘non-farmers’ on the land

‘Grandfathering’ of second residences extended again

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive during a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus. It is now the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks’ return to practice pushed back as player added to COVID protocol list

COVID outbreak has led to eight games being cancelled

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read