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Horrific wrong-way crash in West Van involving motorhome sends 6 to hospital

Witness describes motorhome 'roaring full speed' in wrong lane before hitting car head-on

Update: Sept. 22

Two people remain in hospital, one of them in critical condition, following Wednesday's dramatic crash on West Vancouver's Upper Levels highway. The other person is in stable condition, according to West Vancouver Police.

Six people were rushed to hospital Wednesday after a motorhome driving the wrong way in on Highway 1 crashed head-on into a car between the 22nd Street and Cypress Bowl Road exits. Two other cars swerved to avoid the motorhome at the last moment.

Four of those people have since been released from hospital. One man took to social media to say "(I) can't believe we're alive," after the car he was travelling in flew through the air then rolled several times.

Police are now appealing to the public for help to determine why and how the crash happened. Investigators are particularly interested in talking to anyone who may have additional dashcam footage or who observed the motorhome before the crash, said Const. Nicole Braithwaite, spokesperson for the West Vancouver Police Department.

Anyone with information is asked to call the West Vancouver Police at 604-925-7300.

Original story: Sept. 21

Six people have been rushed to hospital, two of them in critical condition, after a motorhome driving the wrong way on West Vancouver's Highway 1 crashed head-on into a passenger car near the Cypress Bowl Road exit Wednesday morning.

People in two other cars swerved at the last minute to get out of the way, ending up in the ditch or next to the median.

Six people, including the driver of the motorhome, were taken to hospital, according to police.

In addition to the two people in critical condition, two people  rushed to hospital were in serious condition while two had minor injuries, according to Emergency Health Services.

One witness said on social media that her husband had a split second to swerve as they saw what she described as a van “roaring full speed in the wrong lane on Highway 1 near Taylor Way.”

There was no time to warn anyone and the car just behind them was hit and “flew through the air,” the woman wrote, adding, “Devastated for the people in that car.”

Miraculously, one of the people who was in that car posted on social media hours later to say both he and his brother were ok.

"At any moment your life can just end," he wrote. "Today me and my brother dodged death after a person driving on the wrong side of the highway hit us! We flew (through) the air and rolled about 4-5 times can’t believe we’re alive."

Witnesses from the scene described a red Prius crushed under a larger vehicle which was on its side, with another white compact car badly damaged about 20 metres away.

Matt Furlot, assistant fire chief of the West Vancouver Fire Department, was one of the first people to arrive at the scene. "There was a camper van on top of another vehicle with smoke coming from the one vehicle," he said.

Bystanders had already pulled the injured driver of the motorhome - a middle-aged woman - out of the vehicle, he said, and one passerby had used a fire extinguisher. Firefighters initially received reports that more passengers were trapped inside the motorhome, so used tools to cut into the camper, said Furlot. But that turned out to be a false report.

Miraculously, the driver of the vehicle partially crushed by the motorhome managed to get out of car by themselves and walk away from the scene with only minor injuries, he said.

Two other vehicles had gone off the road and rolled, he said. One of the people in one of those cars was among the most seriously injured, he said, along with the motorhome driver.

Nate Goddyn said he was driving by soon after the first firetruck arrived at the scene.

“They were attending that individual that was pretty beat up. There was a lot of blood. It’s just a terrible scene,” he said.

Const. Nicole Braithwaite, spokesperson for the West Vancouver Police Department, said officers raced to the scene just before 11:30 a.m.

Early reports indicate that the driver of the motor home was travelling west in eastbound highway lanes, causing two vehicles to swerve out of the way before hitting a third vehicle head-on, said Braithwaite. 

Eastbound traffic remained backed up almost to Horseshoe Bay for several hours as investigators from the Lower Mainland's Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service (ICARS) examined the scene.

Braithwaite described the crash as a "tragic incident" adding police don't know yet why the driver of the motorhome was driving the wrong way on the highway.  Any witnesses are asked to contact the West Vancouver Police.

An eastbound detour has been set up via the Westmount off-ramp, according to information on DriveBC, while one westbound traffic is flowing normally.

jseyd@nsnews.com
twitter.com/JaneSeyd

 

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