With continual snowfall on Jan. 5, five traffic accidents were reported between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Two of the incidents, each involving more than three vehicles, happened within the span of an hour and half on different parts of Highway 16.
First incident: ditch or crash
At about 11:45 a.m. on Highway 16 in front of the sawmill west of downtown Vanderhoof, a truck heading eastbound was waiting to turn left, followed by a dump truck, a small grey car, and a red truck, Nielsen said.
A truck carrying wood chips, also going eastbound, did not see the vehicle lineup between the blowing snow until the last minute.
Seeing that the wood chip truck would not be stopping in time, the grey car’s driver turned right to avoid the incoming truck, into the ditch.
To avoid colliding with the lineup, the chip truck driver made a split-second decision to turn left, as he saw that the grey car was already on the right side.
An incoming pickup truck, heading westbound, then hit the chip truck’s trailer.
Three people were injured as a result of the incident, with one taken to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
The chip truck’s driver’s dog, seated beside the driver, suffered the most injury with part of his nose lost.
The police advised drivers to secure their pets, like other passengers, with seatbelt leashes to avoid injuries.
Interlude: in the air
Twenty minutes after the above accident was reported, an incident on Highway 16 between Saranovich Road and Blackwater Road occurred.
An eastbound car was slowing down to turn right into a residential driveway, and a pickup truck was passing him on the left.
At this moment, a car approaching from behind, observed the two cars side by side and thought that they were both stationary.
He veered right, going off the road and flying for 20 feet before coming to a stop, with no airbags activated.
No one was injured.
Second incident: truck spun by multiple vehicles
As the RCMP finished up paperwork on scene for the Blackwater Road, an incident on Highway 16 was reported near C.J.’s Trailer Park.
A pickup truck from Pacific Natural Gas, heading eastbound, was waiting to turn left after an incoming westbound logging truck passed through.
Meanwhile, an eastbound logging truck, passing the waiting pickup on the right, was suspected to have clipped the pickup at the rear, spinning the vehicle.
Then, a westbound flat-bed truck, seeing the scene but unable to avoid the spinning pickup, hit it again at the rear — according to evidence — setting it spinning again.
Next, an eastbound fully-loaded lumber truck hits the spinning pickup, at its third time, and went off the road into the ditch on the right.
Lastly, a westbound blue pickup, observing the incident from afar, went right and up an embankment, clipping a nearby stop sign.
Though the pickup driver suffered only minor injuries, the RCMP is looking for information on the initial logging truck that first spun the pickup.
In the past week, Vanderhoof’s local RCMP detachment lodged 109 files.
There were 15 files from New Year’s Eve to the first hours of 2016, including three road checks in the evening and no serious incidents, the police said.
Other than a fatal collision on Bearhead Road, one kilometre from Highway 16 west of Vanderhoof, on Dec. 23 morning, Christmas season overall was uneventful in Vanderhoof, said Sgt. Svend Nielsen.
Involving a minivan driven by a Vanderhoof resident and an unloaded logging truck, the Vanderhoof driver died at the scene, and investigation of the collision’s cause continues at press time, according to North District Traffic Services.
– with files from Sgt. Svend Nielsen, Vanderhoof RCMP