Drivers swear, 'flip off' firefighters at fatal Barriere accident scene | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Drivers swear, 'flip off' firefighters at fatal Barriere accident scene

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Firefighters and paramedics blocked highway traffic near Barriere on and off for roughly six hours on Tuesday when one person died in a collision — and took the brunt of frustrations from drivers for it.

Traffic on Highway 5 North was reduced to a single lane on Aug. 16 for most of that time until a tow truck came to retrieve the vehicle, at which point both lanes were blocked, much to the ire of some drivers.

"Some people seem to get a little aggressive while they're waiting, I guess," Barriere fire chief Ashley Wohlgemuth said. "People were sitting for quite some time, which happens at an accident."

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Wohlgemuth said some drivers shouted expletives and gave middle fingers at traffic workers blocking lanes and emergency crews at the scene, frustrated they were forced to wait for a fatal single-vehicle collision on the highway.

She recalled one commercial truck driver passing traffic control workers while the highway was reduced to a single lane, against oncoming traffic.

Thankfully, a head-on collision was averted.

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"We all want to get home to our families," she said. "For them to not respect what we're asking of them, just for that short time, so we can all be safe and make it home, it's frustrating and scary."

She said most drivers are respectful, but it's the small few that "ruin it for the rest."

"Be respectful to the person who has just passed and his family," she said.

As the chief for the volunteer department, she knows responding to fatal accidents are stressful for her and her crews, so she's pleading to the public to have patience and slow down when they see flashing lights on the highway.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 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.

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