Car accident near Squamish leaves two dead 

Investigation into Sea to Sky crash ongoing

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO - Police are continuing to investigate Tuesday night's crash near the Cheekye River Bridge.
  • File photo
  • Police are continuing to investigate Tuesday night's crash near the Cheekye River Bridge.

No official cause has been determined yet in the head-on collision that left two men dead and six injured on the Sea to Sky Highway Tuesday night.

"It's a large investigation and it takes a lot of resources to pull everything together - in fairness to the people that were injured and killed in this crash - to find the answers that people are looking for," said Const. Mike Halskov.

Emergency services were called to the Cheekye River Bridge around 7:30 p.m., after a northbound pickup truck crossed the centre line and crashed into a Dodge Caravan heading southbound.

The truck was driven by a lone occupant, while the van was carrying seven passengers.

Motorist Jordan Junck, who arrived on scene shortly after the crash, described the scene in a Jan. 4 interview.

"I've seen some accidents on the highway, that was a pretty rough one. The truck was basically perpendicular to the road," he said. "The other vehicle was a lot worse. I couldn't even recognize it was a van. There were wheels in the middle of the road, everything was ripped apart."

The driver of the van, as well as one passenger, were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the truck, as well as one other passenger from the van were transported to local hospitals in serious condition, while the remaining four were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Junck stayed with the driver of the truck until firefighters could remove him with the jaws of life. He estimated the man was around 60 years old, and he was apparently headed up to Whistler to volunteer. The driver recalled losing control of the vehicle on a patch of ice, but police say no official cause has been confirmed yet.

"It's premature to say at this point what specifically caused the accident," said Halskov. "Absolutely everything is being looked at in a situation like this, and to my knowledge nothing has been ruled out."

According to police, all individuals involved in the accident were residents of the Lower Mainland. Families of the deceased have been notified, but the RCMP won't be releasing the names publicly.

The highway was closed in both directions for around seven hours as investigations took place, eventually re-opening at 2:30 a.m. the morning of Jan. 3.

"These types of incidents are definitely tragic, and they affect a lot of people - friends, family, co-workers, and it has far-reaching implications when you have this many people involved in a single collision. It can be pretty traumatic, including for the emergency service personnel who attended," said Halskov.

Anyone with information regarding the collision, or the events that preceded it are asked to call Sea to Sky Traffic Services at 604-892-6100.

Halskov would also like to remind drivers to ensure their vehicles are equipped with proper winter tires and that they are mindful of rapidly changing road and weather conditions as they travel.

As for Junck, he's hoping no more accidents need to happen before change is made along that stretch of highway.

"After the upgrade, they put up a lot of meridians south of Squamish and that's done a lot for accidents on the highway, and I find it hard to imagine why they wouldn't meridians in those areas as well. I drive that road all the time, and it's icy, and conditions are variable, and the volume of people has gone up with that highway change. The amount of accidents has gone down in terms of severity in most places, but in those areas (from Squamish to Whistler) it's still fatal and its a pretty simple solution," he said.

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