Emergency crews were working around the clock as multiple serious motor vehicle crashes, including the death of a motorcyclist, caused the Malahat portion of the Trans Canada Highway to be closed for a combined total of roughly 13 hours and sent 10 people to hospital over the weekend.
“We’re starting to get our fall rain and people need to adjust their driving habits,” said West Shore RCMP spokesman Const. Alex Berube. He said every year the RCMP needs to remind drivers to slow down in bad weather and focus on the road. RCMP usually see a slight increase in accidents this time of year he said, adding some years they have to remind drivers to slow down more often than other years.
While the weather may not have been a factor in all of the crashes on the weekend, speed is believed to have played a part in all.
Just before 9 a.m. on Saturday (Aug. 29), West Shore RCMP were called to a two vehicle accident on the Trans Canada Highway near Goldstream Park. Two passenger cars, a southbound Honda Accord and a northbound Volkswagen sedan, both carrying two passengers each, collided. All four passengers were taken to hospital with varying degrees of injury.
An RCMP traffic analyst was called to examine the scene due to the potential seriousness of the injuries and completed a thorough examination. The highway reopened at around 1 p.m. Investigators are examining the possibility that alcohol and driving pattern on the part of the driver of the southbound Honda may have been factors in the crash. A criminal investigation is underway.
BC Ambulance Service and fire crews were also in attendance.
Sunday morning (Aug. 30) also started off with delays and closures on the Trans Canada Highway. RCMP were called to the 3500-block for a single vehicle crash at around 5:30 a.m. The driver of a Volkswagen Golf lost control and the vehicle left the roadway. Besides the driver, there were two other female passengers in the vehicle, all of them were teenagers. They suffered varying degrees of injury and were transported to hospital. One of the passengers suffered from more serious injuries but they are not believed to be life threatening.
An analyst from the RCMP traffic services arrived on scene just before 7 a.m. and the highway was closed for about four hours. A full investigation is underway due to the injuries sustained by the passenger and the possibility of speed playing a factor in the crash. RCMP said that the roadway was wet but weren’t sure if it was raining at the time of the crash.
West Store RCMP were dispatched to another two vehicle collision just after 8 p.m. on Sunday in the 4200-block of the Trans Canada Highway, just north of Aspen Road. According to RCMP, a blue Suzuki motorcycle traveling northbound crossed the centre line and collided head on with a southbound GMC Sierra, which was pulling a 30-foot trailer. The 40-year-old driver of the motorcycle was pronounced dead at the scene. The three occupants of the truck were transported to hospital to be assessed for unknown injuries.
The identity of the motorcyclist had not been released at the time of the ***Gazette’s press deadline.
The highway was closed in both directions and was reopened at approximately 1 a.m. Monday. An RCMP traffic analyst and BC Coroners Service continue to investigate the crash. According to RCMP, preliminary evidence recovered at the scene suggested that speed was a factor in the crash.
Shawnigan Lake RCMP assisted at the scene and Victim Services has been assisting the people involved with this crash.
RCMP are urging drivers to slow down and change their driving patterns to reflect current road conditions.