Advertisement

1 person dead, 1 in hospital, Peace Arch border crossing closed due to fiery collision

WATCH: One driver is dead and another is in hospital after a fiery crash at the Peace Arch Border Crossing. Jordan Armstrong has the details from the scene, which has seen similar accidents before.

Travellers heading in or out of the United States faced long delays after the Peace Arch Border Crossing was closed for hours on Thursday due to a fatal crash.

It happened around 11:30 a.m. when, according to a witness at the scene, a speeding vehicle crashed into traffic and launched about 45 metres into a garden area.

WATCH: Social media video captured the fiery scene at Peace Arch moments after the crash

Video captures fiery collision near Peace Arch border crossing
Video captures fiery collision near Peace Arch border crossing

Landscaper Mitchell Gerhardt was at his first day on the job, spreading manure on the flower bed that is traditionally home to an arrangement in the shape of the Canadian flag.

“Guy just came pinning it from the U.S. side, and he must have been going 100, 120 kilometres per hour, and made contact, rear ended the blue van and drove it right into bed that I was standing in,” he said.

Tweet This
Story continues below advertisement

“I jumped and ran out from behind the bed and came back from around and the van just burst into flames.”

READ MORE: Construction at Peace Arch crossing could mean delays for drivers

Police had initially reported the crash as involving three vehicles, but now say it involved just two, a Porsche Cayenne SUV and a Toyota Sienna minivan.

“The Toyota subsequently caught fire after the collision. The male driver and lone occupant of the Porsche has been transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries,” said Surrey RCMP in a media release.

“The male driver and sole occupant of the Toyota was pronounced deceased at scene.”

Officers escort a man away from the scene of the collision at the Peace Arch border crossing.
Officers escort a man away from the scene of the collision at the Peace Arch border crossing. Courtesy: John Kageorge

B.C. Emergency Health Services (BC EHS) says one person was taken to hospital in serious but stable condition, and several other people were assessed at the scene and released.

Story continues below advertisement

B.C. Coroners Service have confirmed they were notified of a fatality and are investigating.

Photos and video from the scene appeared to show uniformed officers escorting a man away from the scene in handcuffs, however Surrey RCMP said it did not have anyone in custody.

READ MORE: Smuggler’s Inn owner charged with trying to illegally sneak people into Canada

Neighbour Rob Welch, who arrived just after the crash said that the Porsche had Washington state plates on it.

“A couple of our neighbours were saying that their house shook when the car hit the van. He must have been pedal to the metal coming through here,” he said.

“[There was] black smoke, a couple of pops, small explosions. The gentleman who was in the blue car just in front of the accident said the flames were instantaneous.”

The crossing was initially closed to both north and southbound traffic, but reopened to southbound vehicles Thursday evening and to northbound traffic around 1 a.m. on Friday. Drive BC said the northbound lanes were estimated to reopen by 11 p.m.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said Canada-bound traffic was being re-routed to the Pacific Highway crossing.

Travellers can check the CBSA’s website to check wait times at the crossing.

It’s not the first time the crossing has seen a fatal crash.

Story continues below advertisement

Back in 1998, a Julia Campagna of Seattle killed two teenagers when she crashed into their vehicle at a high speed at the Peace Arch crossing.

WATCH: Surveillance video shows fatal 1998 MVA at Peace Arch border crossing

Surveillance video shows fatal 1998 MVA at Peace Arch border crossing
Surveillance video shows fatal 1998 MVA at Peace Arch border crossing

The court heard Campagna was in a delusional state at the time, believing she was crossing the border to meet NHL star Joe Nieuwendyk, and had recently stopped taking a U.S.-marketed herbal stimulant.

Campagna was eventually found not criminally responsible for the crash, by way of a mental disorder.

—With files from Sean Boynton

Global News Redesign Global News Redesign
A fresh new look for Global News is here, tell us what you think
Take a Survey

Sponsored Stories