THOMPSON-OKANAGAN – Serious traffic collisions rocked communities across the Interior in 2015.
A Vernon mother and nurse's life was changed forever when she was struck in a hit and run last December. Robin Orcherton was left a quadriplegic when, on her way home from work, her car was hit by a blue Jeep at a stop light. The Jeep was stolen and the driver, Michael Timothy George Heeley, 22, left the scene where she was trapped and injured in her car. Police arrested Heeley and in March 2015 he was sentenced to three years in prison.
A 21-year-old Kelowna woman died in January after her vehicle went off the road and down a steep embankment in Joe Rich. Alexandra Paulina Nyuli, the local fire chief's daughter, was the driver and sole occupant of a car that left the roadway and rolled more than 100 metres down an embankment. She was found dead at the scene.
The crash happened near the 6900-block of Highway 33 East just after 4 p.m. Police found tire tracks that led them to a Mitsubishi Lancer approximately 250 feet down the embankment.
Two women died in a head-on collision in Vernon in July. They were Chantal Diane Bazin, 22, and Kayla Elizabeth Cartwright, 26, both from Kelowna. The two were travelling southbound on Highway 97 just north of Vernon at approximately 11:50 p.m. when their vehicle slid across the centre line into the northbound lane, colliding with an oncoming vehicle. Both died at the scene. The driver and passenger of the other vehicle were taken to hospital for treatment with non-life-threatening injuries.
In September a cyclist was hit by a truck and critically injured in Rutland, leaving him in a coma.
Trevor Bohac, 42, was hit in the 200 block of Robson Road in Rutland and a 23-year-old Kelowna man claimed to have been behind the wheel. Bohac’s girlfriend says that’s not what her boyfriend said before he slipped into a coma at Kelowna General Hospital. He alleged the driver was a much older man who smelled of alcohol.
A 21-year-old Kelowna woman died when her Toyota sedan was hit head-on by a speeding Honda coupe as it rounded a curve on McCurdy Road East near Morrison Road around 10:15 p.m., May 23. RCMP say speed was a factor in the car crash. Witnesses told police the driver of the Honda, a 27-year-old man, was exceeding the speed limit. The woman in the Toyota died at the scene, while the Honda driver suffered non-life threatening injuries to his back and neck. Both drivers were the only occupants in their cars.
In September a 31-year-old West Kelowna man was killed in a motorcycle crash on Westside Road, one of Canada’s most dangerous roadways according to BCAA's Worst Roads survey. RCMP said the motorcycle went off the road at about 5:44 p.m. about 12 kilometres north of Highway 97 and south of Bear Creek Provincial Park. Const. Kent Hall said the crash happened as the man was rounding a corner. He was declared dead at the scene. Hall said speed was a factor in the crash.
The first big winter storm on the Okanagan Connector and Coquihalla highways proved deadly in November when a car crash claimed the life of a Penticton man on Highway 97C around 1:30 p.m. Martin Lewis Schultz, 44, was the driver and sole occupant of an SUV that went out of control about 17 kilometres west of Merritt and sideswiped a tractor-trailer unit. Schultz died at the scene.
Also in November, a man was killed on Highway 1 between Golden and Revelstoke after two commercial trucks collided in the early morning. Police said the cause of the crash is being investigated, though compact snow with slippery sections and limited visibility with blowing snow were reported on the highway at the time. According to the Revelstoke RCMP, the man travelling in the eastbound tractor trailer died. Two males, one from each truck, were taken to hospitals either in Kamloops or Kelowna with serious injuries.
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