Saturday’s crash that killed Langford motorcyclist Colin Francis Grant near the Island Highway’s southern intersection Shawnigan Lake Road intersection had Malahat’s fire chief demanding concrete centre medians to stop cross-over collisions.
“I’m an absolute advocate of concrete centre barriers there,” Rob Patterson said of the 3:45 p.m. wreck on a dry highway that stopped traffic in both directions for some six hours.
Grant, 54, was killed instantly when his southbound Harley Davidson collided with a northbound PT Cruiser that crossed the centre line, Patterson said.
Police investigation continued about why the vehicle crossed the unguarded centre line.
“How many more people have to die before it (installation) happens?” Patterson asked.
“We’ve had two or three other fatals there in the past 10 years.
“The PT Cruiser crossed the line, hit the (southbound ditch’s) no post and blew two sections out, then hit the bike.
“It was instantaneous and extremely violent,” Patterson said, noting neither vehicle left the highway.
“With a centre median, he never would have crossed over.”
Names of the couple in the PT Cruiser had not been released.
The couple, believed headed to a family gathering, was taken by ambulance to Victoria hospital, the fire chief said.
“The male driver took a substantial smack to the head, and was dazed and confused.
“The female was unhurt but badly shaken up.”
So were witnesses, and his five firefighters attending the tragic scene 300 metres shy of the West Shawnigan cut-off.
“Many people in vehicles close by were shaken up, having seen what they did.
“It gets to everyone sooner or later,” Patterson said of firefighters facing a traffic-death scene.
“It’s part of our critical-stress debriefing. Our crews are told to keep it in perspective — it’s stressful but you’ve got a job to do.”
Police stopped some of his crew, stalled in traffic, from doing that job; other members in a fire truck used the empty northbound lane to reach the scene.
“The cops weren’t letting our fire guys through — I don’t know why.”
RCMP were unaware of that issue when contacted Tuesday.
Meanwhile, some motorists were rerouted to the Mill Bay ferry dock to reach Brentwood.
Mill Bay’s Tony Hoar said about 300 cars tried to get on the ferry that holds about two-dozen vehicles.
“The (Malahat band) seemed to have taken over traffic duty, and tried to stop people from jumping the queue,” he told the News Leader Pictorial. “What a mess.”