October 07, 2014 - 2:08 PM
ENDERBY - Three Okanagan hockey referees are lucky to be alive after an off-ice collision Friday night.
Jeremy Silzer, 24, of Vernon says he and two other refs, one from Winfield and one from Kelowna, were returning home from a Junior B hockey game in Sicamous around 10 p.m. They were just rounding a corner on Highway 97 between Grindrod and Enderby when an oncoming pickup truck crossed over the centre line.
Silzer, who was in the front passenger seat, says there wasn’t time to do more than brace for the impact.
“I remember the bang, then a daze,” Silzer says.
A bystander driving behind them appeared outside the mangled 2002 Ford Focus and yelled to get out. The front end of the vehicle was crunched and the engine was on fire.
“My first reaction after we got out was holy crap we’ve got to get our gear out of the back,” Silver says. “We scrambled to do that and after, it was (about) getting as far away as possible.”
Within five minutes, the vehicle was fully engulfed in flames. Emergency crews arrived in minutes, but amazingly, there was little need for ambulance services. Silzer and the two other occupants, aged 23 and 27, walked away without injuries, while the vehicle they were in is a total write-off.
“Literally, I have a small cut on my hand, that’s it. The other two don’t have a scratch on them,” Silzer says. “Without a doubt, we were all really lucky for sure.”
The driver of the 1996 Dodge 250 pick-up, a 28-year-old woman from Spallumcheen, appears to have emerged unscathed as well. RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says it appears the woman may have been impaired. Police continue to investigate the crash.
“We are very fortunate,” Molendyk says. “Any time we have a motor vehicle accident and people walk away without injuries we are lucky.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014