Two people died in a crash and a portion of the Trans Canada Highway in Nanaimo was shut down for several hours this morning.
Highway 1 northbound lanes between Duke Point Highway and Cedar Road were closed following a vehicle incident, according to Drive B.C., but have now re-opened. A pickup truck and a sport-utility vehicle were involved in the crash.
B.C. Coroners Service confirmed it is investigating two deaths, but couldn’t comment further.
According to a press release issued by IIO B.C. Monday, the incident began just before 1 a.m. when a Nanaimo RCMP officer spotted a white GMC pickup truck leaving a residence in Harewood near Tenth Street.
When the officer tried to pull the vehicle over, the truck’s driver allegedly failed to stop and continued to the Trans Canada Highway and was last seen heading southbound in the northbound lanes and was involved in a two-vehicle head-on crash with another vehicle.
The drivers of both vehicles were pronounced dead at the scene. Their identities have not been released.
“The IIO B.C. is now investigating to determine whether police actions or inactions are linked to the drivers’ deaths. As the matter is now under investigation by the IIO B.C., no further information will be released by police,” the release noted.
Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP media spokesperson, said he could not provide any more information on the matter.
The Nanaimo RCMP Traffic Unit, with assistance from traffic reconstructionists, is conducting a concurrent investigation into the collision and investigators are asking anyone with information to contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.
The IIO B.C. is also asking anyone who observed or might have dashcam footage of the pickup truck on Highway 1 to contact the IIO witness line at 1-855-446-8477.