A man in his 50s died Monday morning near the BC Ferries terminal at Swartz Bay, after being struck by a tractor-trailer truck that had just disembarked from a ferry from the Lower Mainland.
Police and other first responders arrived on the scene just south of Lands End Road around 10:30 a.m.
“The attending police officers rendered first aid along with responding firefighters and paramedics, but sadly the man passed away from his injuries,” Sidney/North Saanich RCMP Cpl. Andres Sanchez said.
The incident is under investigation by police, the BC Coroners Office and Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement. Sanchez believed it to be the first motor-vehicle-related fatality of 2022 in the Sidney/North Saanich jurisdiction.
“We still don’t know what led the man to be on the highway at that time,” he said. “So we are also asking for members of the public who witnessed the event or who witnessed the man prior to the incident to come forward. Additionally, we are looking for dash-cam footage.” Specifically, police are looking for footage, which may depict the circumstances between 8 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., he added.
Preliminary investigation determined the man was attempting to cross the southbound lane from east to west. “And he seemed to be the only person there,” Sanchez said. “No other friends and family (were) around to give us a good idea what was going on.”
Police are not ruling out suicide as a possible explanation, he added. “But at this point, it is only speculative, so we can’t confirm anything. We are still trying to figure out what exactly happened.”
The man’s name was not released pending notification of family.
“We believe that he is a Victoria resident, but we are still trying to determine his exact residence at this point,” Sanchez said. “I know his family is outside the Victoria area and we have yet to locate his primary address.” Police currently only have a post office box to go on, he added.
Police are also not prepared to release the exact age of the man at this point because not all family members know of this incident yet.
The incident caused long delays on the southbound lanes of Highway 17 with several large tractor-trailers lined up for more than an hour as various offices investigated the incident. Officials re-routed ferry and local traffic along Lands End Road.
Sanchez said the Lower Mainland-based driver of the tractor-trailer was cooperative with the investigation.
“He stopped the vehicle, he tried to render assistance,” he said. “At this point, police are not looking into any kind of criminal charges. We are moving forward with this as a motor vehicle investigation at this point. But again, it is in the early stages of the investigation, so things could change.”
Weather was not believed to be a factor and police reopened the highway later Monday.
“We are investigating,” said Ryan Panton, manager of strategic communications and media relations for the BC Coroners Service.“Obviously, we are early in the process, trying to determine all the facts,” he said. “So because of that, we don’t have any additional information to share at this time.”
Panton said it is not clear yet when that investigation will wrap up because each investigation has unique circumstances. “Typically, we say several weeks or months,” he said. “(BC Coroners Service) investigates all sudden and unexpected deaths in the province.”
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