B.C. police watchdog looking into North Okanagan motorcycle crash that critically injured rider | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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B.C. police watchdog looking into North Okanagan motorcycle crash that critically injured rider

A motorcyclist was seriously injured in a crash with a pickup on Highway 97 in Grindrod, north of Vernon, Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020.
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August 31, 2020 - 2:52 PM

A motorcyclist that turned heads from Kelowna to Enderby by erratically speeding through traffic without a helmet, is in hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries. 

While it's unclear what set the incident into motion, North Okanagan RCMP are investigating. Also, the RCMP say they had two potential points of contact with the man and for that they will be passing part of the file over to the province's police watchdog.

Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said in a press release that just before 11 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 30, RCMP in the Southeast District received traffic complaints from Lake Country, Vernon and Enderby of a man with no helmet, riding a motorcycle with no license plate on Highway 97.

"An officer located the motorcycle in Lake Country, where the rider allegedly failed to stop and the officer reportedly did not pursue. Another officer located the motorcycle in Enderby on Highway 97 near Mill Avenue but was unable to initiate a traffic stop," Shoihet said in the release.

"Just after 11:30 a.m., Enderby RCMP received a report of head-on collision involving a motorcycle and a pickup truck on Highway 97 at Springbend Road near Grindrod. Upon attendance at the scene, police confirmed the rider and motorcycle were the same as the one previously observed. The rider suffered serious, potentially life-threatening injuries and was transported to a local area hospital by B.C. Emergency Health Services," Shoihet said.

The driver and passenger in the pickup were not physically injured.

The Vernon North Okanagan RCMP continue to investigate the driving infractions, while the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is now investigating to determine whether police actions or inactions are linked to the man’s injuries. As the matter is now under investigation by the independent investigations office, no further information will be released by police.

Numerous people have contacted iNFOnews to say that they are still rattled by the event.

"We saw him for the first time at some point after Kelowna. I don’t know where exactly. My husband was driving and I saw him passing us on the highway. He was going very fast, weaving through traffic and he did not have a helmet. We saw him passing everyone and then climbing the highway on an incline, pulling away from all traffic," an iNFOnews reader, who witnessed the motorcyclist's behaviour, said in an email, asking their name not be used.

"It was disturbing. Down the road, as we were driving through Enderby, he came up from a side road and got back on the highway. He passed us on the right and we were in the right lane so I couldn’t believe we were seeing him again. He then started weaving through traffic and going very fast. He obviously knew what he was doing. He controlled the bike like an expert. A dangerous and reckless expert, but this wasn’t a first time for him, we could see that," the witness said.

They later saw him on the side of the road, and in that moment they assumed he was dead.

So did another man, who asked that he only be identified as "an evangelist."

He lives in the area and when he found out that Highway 97 was closed, he took Springbend Road instead. He said he came upon the scene and it looked like the man had died on the side of the road.

"I said, 'I am an evangelist, would you let me pray for this man,'" he said.

He then kneeled down, and prayed for him. He said he saw the victim breathing then and he was rushed to the hospital by paramedics.

All aspects and circumstances of the incident will be the subject of independent investigation and verification by the independent investigations office.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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