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’s report confirms cause of death of three men at Sooke River in 2020

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen drown while ‘puddle-jumping’ in pickup truck

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 released Wednesday.

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.



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

This stretch of Highway 14 on Parkinson Hill near Port Renfrew is undergoing reconstruction following a road washout in 2018. (Ministry of Transportation photo)
22-hour Highway 14 road closure planned for Wednesday

Closure needed to install a temporary bridge structure near Port Renfrew

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
Extinction Rebellion activists march from Vancouver to Victoria this weekend

The four-day trek ends at the B.C. legislature Monday, protest province’s environmental policy

At Tuesday’s Sooke council meeting, RCMP submitted a record showing the types of calls and incidents that were investigated within the district, which included a comparison from February 2021 to February 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Crime and calls to Sooke RCMP on the decline in February compared to 2020

Sooke RCMP share February investigation statistics

The hiring of out-of-province workers by the Canadian Red Cross to staff the vaccination centre in Langford has raised eyebrows. (Black Press Media file photo)
Red Cross hires out-of-province workers to staff Langford vaccination centre

Staffer worries local jobs weren’t offered to local people

A rider crosses a “skinny” on the newly opened trail known as 90s Jank, built within the Hartland system by volunteers with the South Island Mountain Bike Society. (Youtube/MTB Matt)
Mountain bikers celebrate first new trail in years on Saanich’s Mount Work

90s Jank trail a product of licence agreement between CRD and mountain bike society

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: Lookout Lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Photo by Metro Creative Connection
New campgrounds coming to B.C. parks as part of $83M provincial boost

This season alone, 185 campsites are being added to provincial parks, says Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Most Read