Highway 5, known as the Coquihalla Highway, runs from sea level to 2400 meters above sea level as the crow flies. It bears a dubious safety reputation. A car accident on British Columbia’s Coquihalla is so commonplace that when two buses, two semis and two other vehicles collided recently, area residents phoned for help as soon as the first deafening crash occurred.
In any season, Highway 5 is known for accidents arising from driver error, excessive speed and poor judgment. This year’s extreme winter in a region completely unaccustomed to 20 centimeters of snow in one day has made daily headlines. Yet warnings by authorities to drive according to conditions had been issued the day before and regularly repeated.
The scene must have been almost as horrific for emergency crews as it was for the victims. Some victims had to be very carefully extracted from vehicles; others were stuck between one vehicle and another over the top, teetering on its side. The delicate, life-saving work took hours. Many who had escaped injury braved the cold to help ensure that responders located all of the 29 injured. Of those, two remain in critical condition in hospital.
The RCMP acknowledge the challenge of determining cause and collating the facts in this off-the-scale car accident. Victims may question whether inclement weather was the sole culprit or whether fault lay elsewhere. Some may well consider seeking the advice of a British Columbia personal injury lawyer who could help gather all the facts, ascertain legal fault, if fault there was, and quantify damages.
Source: British Columbia – CBC News, “‘People went flying’: Bus passenger on crash that left 29 injured on Coquihalla Highway“, Feb. 26, 2018