Childhood friends killed in Vernon motorbike crash leave behind fiancées, families

James Folden with his fiancée Chelsea and baby daughter Briar just seven weeks before the crash.
Image Credit: Contributed

LUMBY - Childhood friends James Folden and Trinity Bright were both living life to its fullest when a tragic motorbike crash cut their time short.

Both were engaged to be married; Folden, 23, to Chelsea, his high school sweetheart and mother of his seven-week-old daughter, and Bright, 24, to the love of his life.

Folden, an avid motorbike rider, was driving along East Vernon Road in the early morning hours of June 28 with Bright as his passenger when they crashed into a parked utility trailer. They died at the scene.

Folden’s mother-in-law Margie Bilodeau describes him as loving, caring, and the ideal partner for her daughter Chelsea.

“They were the perfect couple. She loved him 100 per cent and he loved her the same back,” Bilodeau says, adding Folden always had a twinkle in his eye and a big smile on his face.

The two got together in high school at Charles Bloom Secondary and got engaged June 8, 2013. Their first daughter, Briar, was born on May 7, 2015. Folden spent as much time as possible with her, and Chelsea cherishes the videos she took of them during those first few weeks of Briar’s life, which turned out to be the last of Folden’s.

“Briar will always know who her daddy is. There’s never going to be another one like him, he was one-of-a-kind,” Bilodeau says. “He loved her so much and was so proud of her.”

Bright, who Bilodeau describes as someone who could always make you laugh, also graduated from Charles Bloom Secondary.

“Every time they both (Folden and Bright) came home, if they were here at the same time, they were always together,” Bilodeau says. “Both were very respectful and would open doors for you, or carry your groceries.”

Folden worked in northern B.C. for a few years but in March he and Chelsea relocated back to their hometown, where he worked as an arborist. Bright was living in Canmore, Alta. but came to visit when he could.

Trinity Bright with his fiancée.
Trinity Bright with his fiancée.
Image Credit: Contributed

Both were outdoorsy men and enjoyed hiking, quadding, swimming, dirt biking and camping. They took care for their safety, were ‘super careful’ and always wore full gear while dirt biking, Bilodeau says.

“I can’t even begin to describe the shock,” Bilodeau says of the crash. “I keep wanting to wake up and have it not be happening.”

She says the community has been incredibly supportive, with many people phoning, emailing, and offering to help in any way they can.

A joint celebration of life for both Folden and Bright will take place Saturday, July 11, at the Pat Duke Memorial Arena in Lumby, at 2 p.m.

Anyone wishing to provide financial support for Folden’s fiancée Chelsea, and daughter Briar, can donate here.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724. 

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