A 55-year-old man was killed in a crash on Yellowhead Trail on Friday night after police said he was racing another vehicle on the busy roadway.
Just before 8 p.m., police said a 1964 Chevelle Malibu was racing a silver sports car eastbound on the Yellowhead.
As the vehicles approached the overpass just west of 121 Street, the Malibu lost control, spun out, crossed the median and collided with a semi-truck that was heading west on Yellowhead Trail.
Police said the semi was pulling two trailers at the time. Police also said the driver of the Malibu was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the car, ending up under the semi’s tires.
The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.
The Edmonton Police Service said the silver car fled the scene and officers continued to search for the driver on Saturday morning.
Dawn Nimchuk was working in the area on Friday night and out for a smoke break when she heard the cars coming.
“They sounded like they were racing and there’s a distinct sound with that,” she explained on Saturday.
“As they approached us coming down Yellowhead, they nodded; both drivers nodded at one another and then punched the gas like really hard and the sound of that was racing for sure.
“They went so fast that the tires on the blue car were spinning as he punched it. It was making marks on the road. You could tell it was extremely fast, extremely fast. It shouldn’t have been happening.
“Within seconds, I hear the sounds of screeching brakes, the collision and I saw a big cloud of black smoke.”
Nimchuk said she ran to the scene while her friend called 911.
“I saw black smoke. The blue car was on fire at this point. There was stuff on the road… I just needed to help. I just wanted to help if I could help,” she said.
“There was no sign of the other car that he was dragging with.”
Acting Staff Sgt. Kendall Booth with the EPS said no other injuries were reported.
“The semi-truck driver, he’s OK. Obviously he’s probably shaken up with what’s happened here today,” Booth said on Friday.
In a media release sent out Saturday morning, police said speed was a factor in the crash.
As she came into work on Saturday, Nimchuk drove through the crash scene and said she felt sick to her stomach.
“I didn’t sleep last night. You know what happened. I see it in my head, what happened, as I was driving over that this morning and it’s painful. It’s horrific, it really is,” she said.
“It was sadness because this was a family that was going to deal with such a sad, sad dose of news. It was just horrendous. It was sad. Sad.”
The Yellowhead was shut down between 121 and 127 streets for several hours Friday night.
Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.