Police are pursuing charges against an Alberta resident involved in a motor-vehicle collision where a tow-truck operator sustained serious injuries while removing another vehicle from a ditch.
Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil said a report of a two-vehicle collision in the 3800 block of Highway 1 – the four-lane section of highway in Malakwa – was received by police just before 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20.
Investigating officers learned a Dodge pickup driven by a 42-year-old resident of Rocky Mountain House, Alta., had collided with a tow truck, which then struck the tow-truck operator who was outside of his truck at the time working to recover another vehicle.
BC Ambulance paramedics helped remove the tow-truck driver, who was later transferred to hospital in Kelowna with serious, non-life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the Dodge pickup sustained injuries to his lower legs and had to be removed with assistance from Eagle Valley Rescue Society members. McNeil said there were two children in the vehicle with the driver who appeared to be uninjured.
“Witnesses told police the driver of the pick-up truck had been travelling in the left lane, passing multiple vehicles prior to the collision. Speed is believed to be a factor in this injury collision,” said McNeil.
Police continue to investigate the collision and charges under the Motor Vehicle Act against the driver of the pickup are pending.
“This is another example of a worker in B.C. being injured while attending to their duties of assisting motorists on the highway, and a reminder to the public to slow down and give room to emergency workers when they are encountered on the roadways,” said McNeil.
By law, drivers in B.C. are required to slow down and move over when approaching any “official vehicle” with lights activated. Move over, explains McNeil, means giving the person working near the official vehicle safe space to do their jobs. If there is a lane open, drivers should move into the lane away from the stopped official vehicle.
“Official vehicles include not just police, fire, and ambulance, but also tow trucks, highway maintenance trucks, park rangers and conservation officers,” explained McNeil. “When a driver sees a blue, red, or yellow flashing light displayed on a vehicle, they slow down and move over.”
If the official vehicle with flashing light is encountered in an 80 km/h zone or higher, drivers are required to slow to 70km/h. If the posted speed is 70 km/h or lower, the driver must slow to at least 40 km/h.
Following the collision, a GoFundMe campaign was initiated to support tow truck operator, John Brown.