Watch above: It was a tragic weekend on Saskatchewan highways with seven people killed in separate incidents including a construction zone pile-up that claimed three young lives and left a flag person in critical condition. Aaron Streck reports.
SPALDING, Sask. – Three teens have been killed in a multi-vehicle crash in Saskatchewan. It happened late Sunday at a construction zone on Highway 6 south of Spalding.
Police say three teens in a Cavalier were stopped in the northbound lane at the construction zone behind a pickup truck when a northbound semi rear-ended the Cavalier. The force of the collision sent the car into the pickup, which then hit a highway flag person.
“A white car was stopped in the northbound lane at a construction zone behind a grey pickup truck, initial investigation has revealed that a semi tractor-trailer unit was travelling northbound on Highway 6 when it collided with a car from behind, the car hit the truck and then the truck struck a highway flag person,” said RCMP spokesperson Mandy Maier.
The truck then crossed the highway and hit a construction pilot vehicle. The three teens in the Cavalier, 17, 15 and 14, were declared dead at the scene. All three were from Carrot River, Sask. Their names have not been released at the request of the families.
“Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the individuals who were involved in this tragic incident,” said Highways and Infrastructure Minister Nancy Heppner in a release.
The flag person, a 21-year-old man from B.C., was taken by STARS to a Saskatoon hospital in critical condition.
The driver of the semi, a 48-year-old Manitoba man, and the driver of the pilot vehicle, a 19-year-old Alberta man, were treated in Melfort hospital for minor injuries.
“We do know that there was signage in place that was about a kilometer-and-a-half from where the work was actually taking place, there’s an electronic message board and some of the other typical signage you would see within a work zone including the 60 km/h speed limit sign that indicates workers are present,” said Doug Wakabayashi with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure.
Crews were working on a crack sealing project at the time of the deadly crash.
“I think it serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to slow down and pay attention in construction zones,” said Heppner.
“Highway work zones are active construction sites with numerous and significant potential safety risks.”
“As road work ramps up for another season across the provincial highway system, drivers must exercise the utmost of caution at all times.”
In November 2012, the province ramped up safety in construction zones after Ashley Richards, 18, was struck and killed near Weyburn on her first day as a highway flag person in August 2012.
Those changes include rumble strips, photo radar, simplified signage and increased fines for speeding.
No charges have been laid at this time and Mounties continue to investigate.
The ministries of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety and Highways and Infrastructure are also investigating.
Aaron Streck contributed to this story