UPDATE: Coquihalla reopens following fatal semi-truck crash | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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UPDATE: Coquihalla reopens following fatal semi-truck crash

An accident on the Coquihalla, Feb. 17, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Severin Peterson
February 18, 2021 - 9:58 AM

A man was killed after he was ejected from the cab of one of two semi-trucks involved in a crash on the Coquihalla Highway south Merritt late yesterday afternoon.

The Coquihalla Highway between Merritt and Hope reopened this morning following a collision between two commercial transport trucks that closed the southbound lanes overnight. The crash closed part of Highway 5 about a kilometre south of Merritt late yesterday afternoon, Feb. 17.

At roughly 4 p.m., Merritt RCMP responded with emergency medical crews to a report of a collision involving two commercial vehicles, according to an RCMP media release. Witnesses told police officers that both semi-tractor units were travelling in the southbound lanes of Highway 5, climbing a hill, when the collision occurred.

One of the commercial vehicles was travelling at slow speeds in the right lane. The second semi-truck collided with the rear of the first truck as its driver attempted to overtake it on the left.

"The damage caused to the passenger compartment of the cab associated to the overtaking commercial vehicle was described by investigators as catastrophic," said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesman for the B.C. RCMP in the Southeast District, in the media release. A co-driver, who was in the cab's sleeper, was ejected from the cabin and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both drivers worked together to provide life-saving measures to the 38-year-old man. The two drivers were transported by ambulance to the hospital as a precaution.

The B.C. Coroners Service has launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the man’s death. His name will not be released under the Coroners Act.

RCMP are conducting an investigation into the crash, with the B.C. RCMP Traffic Services and the Integrated Collision Analyst and Reconstructionist Services.

If you witnessed this crash and have not yet spoken to police, or you have dash camera footage of the collision, the RCMP is asking you to call the Merritt RCMP at 250-378-4262.

That stretch of the Coquihalla reopened earlier this morning, Feb. 18, according to DriveBC.

— This story was updated at 9:45 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 to include new information from RCMP.

An accident on Highway 5, Feb. 17, 2021.
An accident on Highway 5, Feb. 17, 2021.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Severin Peterson

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