NANAIMO — Traffic officers say “possible inattentiveness” was behind the serious crash in Nanoose Bay which killed one and left another in critical condition.
Central Island Traffic Services RCMP Sgt. Darren Ramey said a car parked on the northbound right shoulder of the Island Highway tried crossing two lanes to the Hillview Rd. turning lane and was hit broadside by a truck.
“Both vehicles careened across all six lanes and ended up in the ditch on the opposite side of the highway,” he said.
The car driver was killed instantly. His wife is still in Victoria Hospital in critical but stable condition. The truck driver wasn’t injured.
This was the second fatal car crash on the Nanoose Bay stretch of the highway in the last month. On March 16 a man was ejected from his car after a crash near the top of Nanoose hill and passed away.
Ramey said the Nanoose Bay section of the Island Highway is where traffic services officer spend much of their time, often due to small feeder roads like Hillview Rd. causing crashes.
“That stretch of highway, you’d think it would be one of the safest around. It’s reasonably straight, beautiful highway but around the Nanoose Bay area we get numerous collisions. (It’s) been on our radar both literally and figuratively for a couple of years now.”
The highway was closed for several hours, causing traffic to backup for kilometres and frustrated drivers.
In 2015 an emergency access gate was installed in the median allowing traffic to flow around the scene of a crash.
Ramey said despite the frustration from drivers, the gate wouldn’t have been used on Friday since it’s designed for crashes lasting longer than six hours.
“It’s not as simple as pulling a couple of pins and swinging it. You have to have the resources to cone off a couple kilometres of highway and then divert traffic around it.” Emcon Services must also be used to swing the gate.
— with files from Dom Abassi
Story written by Spencer Sterritt