Accident is most serious so far during this spring’s TransCanada closure

By Steve Hubrecht

Three people were sent to hospital following a triple motor vehicle collision just north of Edgewater over the weekend.

The accident occurred at approximately 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon on Mother’s Day — Sunday, May 8 — and several local emergency response agencies, including the Edgewater Fire Department, the Invermere Fire Rescue crew, B.C. Ambulance paramedics and the Columbia Valley RCMP — were on scene shortly thereafter. STARS Air Ambulance also responded, once the extent of the incident became apparent.

“A northbound commercial transport truck crossed the centreline and struck a southbound pickup truck. The pickup truck collided with a barricade, then struck a northbound SUV,” Columbia Valley RCMP Sergeant Darren Kakuno told the Pioneer.

He explained that the transport truck driver and the SUV driver were unharmed, but the three occupants  of the pickup truck were extricated using the ‘Jaws of Life’ (hydraulic rescue tools) and taken to hospital. The driver of the pickup truck, whose injuries were the most serious, was airlifted by STARS Air Ambulance. The two passengers of the pickup were transported to hospital by ground ambulance.

“It seemed as though they were serious, but non-life threatening injuries,” said Kakuno, adding that the driver of the commercial transport truck was issued a violation ticket and charged for crossing the centreline.

The accident came during this spring’s closure of the TransCanada Highway for upgrades to the Kicking Horse Canyon between Field and Golden. 

This is the third such closure in the past year, and each has resulted in a dramatic surge in the sheer volume of traffic passing through the Columbia Valley, as the detour around the closure sends all cross-country traffic down Highway 93 South to Radium, then back up Highway 95 to Golden. 

The first two closures – in spring 2021 and fall 2021 – corresponded with huge spikes in the number of motor vehicle accidents in the Columbia Valley.

“This has been the most serious accident we’ve responded to during this closure,” said Kakuno, adding that “we haven’t seen as many accidents during this closure as we did during the previous closure last fall. Likely because of the better weather. Last fall we were contending with a lot of snow and ice.”

Both Kakuno and Columbia Valley rural fire and rescue chief Drew Sinclair praised the coordinated responses and efforts of all the emergency personnel and first responders involved in the incident. 

“I couldn’t be happier with the teamwork of all the groups. Everybody did really well under challenging circumstances. The teamwork was a big contributing factor in how well the response went,” Sinclair told the Pioneer.