November 16, 2015 - 3:06 PM
MERRITT – Two separate crashes on the Coquihalla Highway completely closed the route from Merritt to Hope for several hours today and people posting to social media describe a chaotic scene with overturned vehicles and frustrated drivers.
Teresa Seibel was driving north on the Coquihalla when she was stopped for over an hour shortly outside of Hope. Seibel saw a jackknifed semi across the road that had broken the highway median. She says a crane lifted the broken pieces of concrete and cars across the median into the opposite lane out of accident scene.
"It was so icy, semis in the right lane they were sliding," she says.
Seibel passed the second accident south of Merritt where she saw multiple service vehicles and a cranes attempted to lift vehicles out of the ditch.
The first crash happened at about 9:45 a.m., Nov. 16, at the Coldwater Interchange, exit 286, south of Merritt, closing down the southbound lanes.
The second crash at around 10:30 a.m. at Larson Hill, exit 250, which stopped traffic in both directions. One lane southbound has since been reopened at that location.
B.C. Ambulance spokesperson Fatima Siddiqui says one person from the Larson Hill crash has been taken to hospital in stable condition.
Siddiqui says ambulance "could not keep count" of the number of motor vehicle crashes near Larson Hill.
Two detours in either direction are currently available. If travelling from Hope, take either Highway 1 or 3. From Merritt, travellers are asked to take Highway 8 then exit onto Highway 1.
People on Twitter have described transport trucks sliding across the highway into vehicles. Pictures showed a number of overturned vehicles along the ditch and a car pinned between semis.
"Trucks sliding into these poor vehicles. Slow down truckers!" Robyn Anne Graham tweeted.
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— This story was updated at 3:05 p.m., Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 to include information from B.C. Ambulance and a witness.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015