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Const. Scarecrow meets an untimely fate—again

Police Briefs: Driver ticketed after insecure load of lumber hits cyclist on Sea to Sky Highway

There is one RCMP officer that, without fail, seems to bring out the worst in Sea to Sky motorists time and time again.

His name is Const. Scarecrow and he knows when you’ve been speeding.

Perhaps it was his watchful gaze that drew the ire of a pair of drivers last month, after the plastic cutout made to look like a peering traffic cop—radar gun and all—was damaged and then stolen from his perch on Highway 99 near Pemberton, north of One Mile Lake.

“There seem to be lots of people who are for that cutout and then I think there seems to be some people who don’t particularly like it or are too fond of it,” said RCMP Sgt. Sascha Banks.

The resilient, two-dimensional officer has been the target of vandalism and theft several times since he was first introduced to the Sea to Sky last year, so police set up a surveillance camera to watch over him. That’s how they captured a woman on July 11 allegedly damaging the cutout, before a man was seen the following day taking the officer for a ride.

Const. Scarecrow later turned up at a Squamish bus stop, although, with his head and feet removed and pocked with bullet holes, he was a little worse for wear, and will need to be replaced.

“It tends to be something that frequently happens but at the end of the day, he is police property and to do mischief against him, as it is with any signage that belongs to anybody, it can be a charge of mischief,” Banks relayed.

Even with the headaches the public has caused, Banks said that Const. Scarecrow is more than worth the hassle, and has proven how effective he can be in reducing speeding in the Sea to Sky and other jurisdictions.

“I think he’s worth it. I think people’s lives are worth it. I think people’s safety is worth it. If he works, we’re not going to be deterred by one or two people that unfortunately don’t like him,” she noted, adding that when Const. Scarecrow was first introduced to Squamish, a (real) RCMP officer stood behind the cutout, clocking drivers and noticed a major drop in speeding.

Given the recent fatalities and increase in traffic this summer on Highway 99, Banks said “anything that will help slow down traffic on the Sea to Sky, for us, is a benefit, and I think it’s a benefit for everybody that’s driving on those highways in general.

“We want people to slow down because we want people to arrive at their final destination safe and sound, and that’s really the mantra he stands for.”

Anyone who recognizes the individuals or vehicles in the video stills provided by police are asked to contact Pemberton RCMP at 604-894-3449, or Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or to remain anonymous.

Load of lumber hits cyclist on Sea to Sky Highway

A Vancouver man is nursing serious injuries while RCMP say the driver of the truck whose load knocked him off his bicycle has been ticketed.

A statement from Squamish Traffic Services confirms the cyclist was hit when a pick-up truck with an insecure load passed him Monday on the Sea-to-Sky Highway near Lions Bay.

Police say the truck had a load of lumber in its bed, with the longer lengths protruding above the cab of the pick-up, and the strap holding the load steady appeared to have broken.

The load was hanging well over the right side of the vehicle when 45-year-old cyclist Todd Nickel says he was hit from behind, breaking his clavicle, scapula and eight ribs and puncturing a lung.

The police statement says the driver was located and issued a $196 ticket for driving without consideration and a $288 ticket for having an insecure cargo, but those fines will only apply if there is a conviction.

In a social media post on Tuesday, Nickel says he won't need surgery for his broken scapula but his punctured lung is still "dicey," although he's hoping to be discharged Wednesday.

"I haven't heard from the driver, but I'm not surprised," Nickel writes, adding he is "weaning off the epidural."

"I'm sure he got a ticket and then carried on his way, which is infuriating."

Another cyclist was hit by the same insecure load, police say, but that cyclist continued on and has not spoken with RCMP.

- The Canadian Press