Abbotsford chicken farmer charged in relation to fatal hit-and-run

Kerry Froese charged in crash that killed cyclist Ronald James Scott in January 2015

Kerry Froese is shown in a picture that was published in the Abbotsford News at the time he was announced as a finalist for the 2015 Outstanding Young Farmer Award.

The family of a man killed in a hit-and-run collision in Abbotsford in January 2015 hopes that a charge announced this week in relation to the incident results in more information coming forward.

The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) announced on Wednesday that Abbotsford chicken farmer Kerry Froese has been charged with failing to remain at the scene of an accident causing death.

Ronald James Scott (in photo at left), 61, was killed on Jan. 29, 2015 after he was struck by a vehicle as he was riding his bicycle southbound in the 2000 block of Mt. Lehman Road.

The driver fled the scene and two weeks after the crash, the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) announced that debris found at the scene was believed to belong to a Ford F-150 pickup truck from the years 2012 to 2014.

Police continued to investigate, and last June they announced they had found the suspect vehicle – a grey 2013 Ford Expedition – on a property in the 28600 block of Huntingdon Road.

Although a “person of interest” had been identified, police at the time said they were unable to arrest anyone or determine whether that person was driving the vehicle at the time of the collision.

Const. Ian MacDonald said police were led to the suspect vehicle through the evidence left at the scene, video footage from properties near the collision, and from speaking with area residents.

However, he said police have continued to face challenges in the investigation.

“Along the way, we didn’t feel that everyone we talked to was being completely forthcoming,” he said.

MacDonald said the evidence at this time has led to the current charge against Froese, but other charges are possible, depending on what other evidence might be presented.

“APD investigators hope that with the announcement of the charge, people with information will come forward to do the right thing,” he said.

Barry Remus, Scott’s brother-in-law, said Scott’s family members – most of whom live in southern Manitoba – are pleased that a charge has been laid in connection with the crash and are appreciative of the APD’s diligent work on the case.

They urge anyone with information to come forward.

“If they were in that situation, they would probably appreciate the same,” Remus said. “The family is very hopeful that justice will prevail.”

Remus had lunch with Scott the day before he died, and said the family misses him.

“He was kind and generous and if anybody needed any help, he would be there.”

This is not the first time Froese has been charged in relation to a fatal collision.

In 2011, he pleaded guilty to driving without due care and attention in the 2008 death of Trevor Dueck, 18, and was given a six-month driving prohibition.

The News reported at the time that Dueck had been riding his dirt bike south on the grassy shoulder of the 1000 block of Gladwin Road, when he slammed into the passenger side of Froese’s 2006 Ford F350.

The teen died at the scene.

Froese had initially been charged with impaired driving causing death, dangerous driving causing death, and impaired driving, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.

Froese is a chicken farmer who, in January 2015, was named the recipient of the BC and Yukon Outstanding Young Farmer Award. He was also a finalist for the award in 2013.

He has run a farm for over two decades on a 20-acre property and has appeared on an episode of Chicken Squad, a marketing series to promote chicken farming in B.C.

Froese has also been a member of the board of directors for the B.C. Chicken Marketing Board, the Chicken Farmers of Canada and the B.C. Chicken Growers Association.

In June 2015, he announced he was taking a leave of absence from his duties as an elected member of the B.C. Chicken Marketing Board, citing “personal reasons.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the APD at 604-859-5225, text 222973 (abbypd) or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

(Photo below, top: This is the photo released by the Abbotsford Police Department of the Ford Expedition involved in the hit-and-run that killed Ronald James Scott in January 2015. Bottom photo: Police were still on the scene in Jan. 30, 2015 of the fatal collision that had occurred the night before on Mt. Lehman Road.)