Semi driver ok after flipping rig on Highway 97

John Groot climbs atop the overturned semi he was driving when a car cut in front of him, forcing him to pull to the side where his wheel caught loose gravel.

VERNON - A semi-driver rolled his rig into the ditch on Highway 97 near O’Keefe Ranch just after 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The driver, John Groot, says he was coming up the hill just past O’Keefe Ranch towards Vernon when another vehicle cut right in front of him.

“I thought it was kind of close so I pulled off to the side. My front wheel caught the gravel and pulled me right in. There was nothing I could do,” Groot says.

Groot works for Goliath Tractor Services, based out of Alberta, but runs the route often because the company has a yard in Armstrong. He figures he was only traveling about 25-30 km/h up the steep hill when the rig overturned.

He was hauling a load of plywood and the weight of it made it topple over easily, he says.

Groot was initially trapped inside the overturned semi, having trouble unbuckling his seatbelt. With assistance, he managed to crawl out. He says he doesn’t have a scratch on him.

“I never even bumped my head or anything,” he says.

Armstrong and BX Swan-Lake fire departments as well as the North Okanagan RCMP attended the scene.

Traffic is being guided around the crash site using the inside lane of the double lane highway until the semi is pulled out of the ditch. 

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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