Sooke Road was shut down for nearly two hours on Thursday afternoon, June 18, at the Woodlands Rd intersection following a head-on collision involving two SUVs.
According to RCMP and several witnesses, a ruby-red GMC Terrain was pulling out of Woodlands Rd heading eastbound on Sooke Rd when it crossed the double yellow line and collided with a teal-green Toyota 4Runner SUV heading northbound.
The single female occupant in the red SUV, along with the driver and rear passengers in the teal Toyota — a mom, the dad and their baby, were treated on-site by first-responders and later taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Sooke RCMP Corporal Joe Holmes, one of the responding officers on site, confirmed alcohol was not a factor with either drivers, though he said investigators are looking to see if the driver of the red car may have been impaired by a medical issue.
“There may or may not be some medical issues that we’re looking into at this point and we’re considering just some charges under the Motor Vehicle Act,” Corp. Holmes said, adding that the investigation is still ongoing and this has not yet been confirmed.
“The other folks in the teal SUV didn’t have a chance, they were travelling at the posted speed limit when the red car crossed over,” he said, adding that’s what investigators have at this point based on physical evidence and witness evidence.
“We still need to talk with the occupants of the vehicles because they were being treated for their injuries when we got there,” he added, explaining some of the procedure involved when responding to a motor vehicle incident (MVI).
“One of the first things we look at is establishing the evidence, then finding if we’re looking at any criminal code charges such as alcohol or distracted driving,” he said.
Given the severity of the impact between the two vehicles, each hovering around the 4,000-lbs mark, Holmes said the deploying airbags were a contributing factor to everyone still being able to walk away from the accident.
Both vehicles — the late-2014 GMC Terrain, and late 1990’s Toyota 4Runner, were both designed with crumple zones which significantly reduce the impact that travels into the cabin in the event of an accident. The Terrain also comes equipped with six airbags, while that generation of the 4Runner came with two: driver and passenger.
Holmes was impressed by the Sooke community coming together and lending a hand during the cleanup process and helping direct traffic down Woodlands Rd.
“We would like to thank the first civilians on scene, there were a ton of people out there helping out,” Holmes said. “A lady holding the baby while the mom was being looked at by paramedics, it was really great for everybody coming together.”
Cars, SUVs and small trucks were able to bypass the accident area via Blythwood and Parkland Roads. Sooke Rd opened around 2:00 p.m.