Breaking News

Malahat crash Monday sends one driver to hospital, closed highway for an hour

By Peter Rusland

Cowichan News Leader Pictoral

A Sooke driver and two Ladysmith folks are lucky to be alive after Monday evening's cross-over crash along an non-medianed stretch of the Malahat, officials say.

The wreck also tossed fuel on Malahat fire chief Rob Patterson's demand for concrete barriers along the Malahat, particularly on the section called Nascar Corner, near where three folks died in October during a cross-over accident.

No charges have been laid in Monday's incident while investigation continues into why the Sooke driver's southbound, 2003 Chev Cavalier crossed the centre line, then collided with a northbound 2004 VW Jetta at around 5:20 p.m. on wet pavement.

The wreck sent the 31-year-old Sooke driver to Victoria hospital with what Malahat fire chief Rob Patterson said was suspected head trauma and a possible broken wrist.

The Jetta's male driver and his female passenger, both from Ladysmith, were shaken but injured, Patterson noted of the crash that closed rush-hour traffic for an hour in both directions.

That delay saw Malahat firefighters use the Jaws of Life to remove the Sooke male from the crumpled Cavalier.

Its fuel tank was also ruptured, prompting fuel mopping by Patterson's crew.

"Once again, I'm calling for medians," said Patterson, whose crews took trauma counselling after dealing with the Oct. 14 triple fatality, just 300 metres from Monday's crash site.

RCMP say the two-car collision happened north of Whittaker Road as two vehicles were merging southbound near the summit.

That's where a Slegg Construction truck was passed by the Cavalier in the slow lane, explain Shawnigan Lake RCMP.

The Cavalier touched the front end of the large truck causing the Cavalier to go sideways, and cross the centre line, where it was hit by the northbound Jetta.

Patterson said both vehicles were totalled during the wreck where medians would likely have reduced the dangers.

"There's no replacing stupidity," the fire chief said. "If there'd been medians there, the people in the Jetta wouldn't have been affected, and the guy in the Chev would have been the only one affected."

RCMP Cpl. Dave MacKenzie indicted medians would help reduce Malahat risks.

"If northbound and southbound vehicles stay in their respective lanes, we'd have less crashes."

Crash witnesses can contact Shawnigan Lake RCMP at 250-743-5514.

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