KELOWNA – A head-on crash on Highway 97 north of the Kelowna Airport claimed the life of a Manitoba woman and closed the route in both directions for almost 5 hours on Saturday.
Just before 8:30 a.m., emergency crews arrived on the scene to find a Dodge pick-up on it’s side and engulfed in flames, and a Ford sedan with major damage to it’s front end.
The pick-up was travelling southbound in the fast lane when it slowly veered back and forth over the centre line, hitting the sedan head-on, according to witnesses.
“The force of the impact caused the pick-up to roll into the northbound lane, coming to rest on the passenger side and pinching the front end of a Pontiac sedan,” Const. Steve Holmes with Central Okanagan Traffic Services says in a media release. “The pick-up caught fire and passersby were able to get the pickup driver, a 33-year-old Comox area male, out of the vehicle as it burned.”
Holmes says the man and woman in the sedan, both in their 60’s and from Manitoba, were trapped and fire crews used the jaws of life to get them out.
The woman died at the scene, while the man was rushed to Kelowna General Hospital with a serious head injury. The driver of the pick-up was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, while the driver of the Pontiac wasn’t hurt.
Highway 97 was closed, with traffic detoured to Glenmore Road so RCMP traffic analysts could do their work. The extra traffic on the back road created a traffic jam of its own.
The highway was closed for almost four hours and fully re-opened to traffic at about 1:16 p.m. Saturday, according to Drive B.C.
RCMP say speed may have been a factor and they are trying to figure out why the driver of the pick-up crossed into oncoming traffic.
Police are asking anyone who witnessed the crash, or was travelling southbound at the time of the collision, to contact Const. Prommer with Central Okanagan Traffic Services at 250-980-5353.
A woman in her 60's from Manitoba was killed in a head-on crash on Highway 97 north of the Kelowna Airport on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014.
(HOWARD ALEXANDER /InfoTel Multimedia)
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— This story was updated at 1:25 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014 to add Highway 97 has re-opened.
— This story was updated at 4:16 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014 with information from the RCMP.