Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Witness to Crash Involving 165 People Says Accidents Happen 'Way Too Many Times'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Witness to Crash Involving 165 People Says Accidents Happen 'Way Too Many Times'

Article excerpt

'Here we go again,' witness to crash involving 165

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HOPE, B.C. - Graham Zillwood has witnessed numerous crashes outside his front window on a notorious stretch of British Columbia's Coquihalla Highway, but nothing like the chain-reaction crash Sunday night involving 165 people.

The Provincial Health Services Authority said Monday that 29 people were hospitalized with conditions ranging from stable to critical following the crash that involved at least six vehicles.

Zillwood said it started at about 8 p.m. Sunday when he heard the "familiar sound" of a vehicle going off the highway.

"I looked to my left and I could see a whole bunch of other vehicles stopped and I saw the first semi and I thought, 'Oh no, here we go again.' So that semi hit a car on the road, knocked it down the embankment and then the semi rolled down the embankment on that car."

A few seconds later, he said another semi-trailer truck speared the first and then a third truck nudged a Greyhound bus before it hit the second truck involved in the crash.

The Coquihalla River separates his home from the highway, but Zillwood said he had a clear view of what happened from his front window.

"I was on the phone to 911 as all this was happening. I was (doing) play-by-play telling them what was happening kind of thing. I've done that before here, unfortunately. This happens more often than it should."

RCMP Const. Mike Halskov said the collision involved large buses, tractor-trailer trucks and smaller vehicles.

"Winter driving conditions are considered to be a major contributing factor in this collision and driver impairment does not appear to be a factor," he said in a statement.

Police said numerous emergency agencies responded to the crash.

"Thankfully, there were no fatalities as a result of this collision," says a statement from RCMP Fraser Valley Traffic Services.

Two Greyhound buses were caught up in the crash, including one that landed in the ditch.

Company spokeswoman Lanesha Gipson said both buses were travelling from Kelowna to Vancouver and were carrying a total of 97 passengers.

"We are aware of five reported injuries, most of which were treated and released," Gipson said. …

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