October 18, 2016 - 1:00 PM
VERNON - Being the first person on the scene of a bad accident is an experience that would stick with anyone. Having it happen twice is what has Vernon resident Ricky Haldorson imploring people to slow down and drive safely.
Haldorson was the first motorist to come upon a deadly car crash on Vernon’s Commonage Road yesterday, Oct. 18. He remembers driving around a bend in the road and seeing a gravel truck in the ditch, and a pick-up truck off the road in a swamp. Police say the collision happened when the Alberta-registered pickup truck lost control and slid sideways into the dump truck.
Haldorson immediately got out and went to the driver stuck inside the badly damaged pick-up truck. The driver was unconscious, but had a pulse, Haldorson says.
Shortly after, an off-duty paramedic arrived at the scene and climbed into the vehicle to administer CPR, he says.
“He had a first aid kit with a ventilator so he could breathe into his mouth,” Haldorson says. “He was working on him and working on him… At that point I already knew the guy was dead.”
It’s not the first time Halvorson has been faced with the horror of coming across a car crash. A few years ago, he watched a vehicle in front of him fly off a 50-foot embankment, ejecting and killing the driver. In the moments after the crash, he helped pull a girl from the wreckage.
Witnessing not one, but two, fatal accidents firsthand has had an impact on him.
“It’s pretty traumatic,” Haldorson says.
He drives Commonage Road often on his way to work, and sees a lot of speeders navigating the twists and turns, which concerns him.
While the cause of the Commonage Road collision remains under investigation, Haldorson says the effects of the crash are a good reminder to drive slowly and cautiously, which can prevent an accident, or reduce the severity of a collision if you are involved in one.
According to ICBC, there were 96 fatal crashes in the Southern Interior in 2014, 36 of which involved speed as a contributing factor. Impairment by alcohol, drugs or medication contributed to 22 fatalities, and distraction was a factor in 26.
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