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Highway 5 head-on collision claims 2 lives near Clearwater

A CN truck driver and the passenger of a semi-truck were the victims

A head-on collision between a semi-truck and CN truck just before 1 a.m. on Tuesday (April 23) claimed the lives of two people, confirm BC Highway Patrol (BCHP).

BCHP, Clearwater RCMP along with local fire departments attended the scene at Highway 5 and Cliffe Road in Birch Island, located about three kilometres north of Clearwater at 12:50 a.m.

“A semi-truck and a CN truck hit head-on, then became engulfed in flames after a tank exploded on one of the trucks,” noted Cpl. Melissa Jongema adding a small wildfire broke out due to the vehicle fire, but was put out by the local fire department.

“The passenger of the semi-truck and the driver of the CN truck both tragically passed away. The driver of the semi-truck and the passenger in the CN truck survived and are in critical, but stable condition.”

Highway 5 was closed for hours while the scene was investigated.

Jongema said it is too early too tell the cause of the collision. She encouraged motorists to “pull over if you are tired and drive during the day if possible” and to watch for wildlife.

“Wildlife are more active during dawn and dusk. If wildlife is present on the highway, consider the presence of on-coming vehicles before swerving around an animal and into on-coming lanes. The lives of drivers and passengers are so much more important than wildlife.”

The Collision Analyst and Reconstructionist Service is investigating and BC Highway Patrol has taken over conduct of the investigation. If you witnessed this collision or have dashcam related to the incident, please call BC Highway Patrol at 778-290-5761 and refer to file 2024-266.

Local leaders have been fighting for safety improvements to Highway 5, which sees heavy commercial traffic. Multiple fatalities with semi-trucks on Highway 5 has prompted to government to build a dedicated Commercial Vehicle and Safety Enforcement (CVSE) pullout south of Barriere, which is currently underway.

At the time of the CVSE announcement the government said increasing traffic volume on the Highway 5 North corridor requires more commercial vehicle inspections.

READ MORE: Highway 5 near Clearwater reopens after fatal collision

Angie Mindus

About the Author: Angie Mindus

I began my journalism career in daily and weekly newspapers in Alberta.
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