UPDATE: 1 dead after vehicle crushed by semi on Highway 97 in West Kelowna
Police say they are still investigating the fatal collision that occurred early Friday at Highway 97 and Bartley Road in West Kelowna.
RCMP say they have since identified the deceased driver of the Hyundai Tucson and are continuing efforts to properly notify the victim’s next of kin.
Global News was at the scene and was initially told by police that the incident involved a semi and a taxi. Now RCMP say the SUV was instead a designated driver service.
“The police investigation into the fatal collision, between the passenger SUV and the commercial tractor trailer unit, remains in its early stages,” said Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.
“RCMP are now confirming, despite some unconfirmed reports in the media, that the passenger vehicle involved was not a commercial taxi cab. The passenger vehicle was being operated by an individual employed by a local designated driver service.”
RCMP said they were told by hospital officials that the lone passenger of the Hyundai Tucson, who was taken to an area hospital, remains in critical condition.
A fatal crash closed the westbound lanes of Highway 97 at Bartley Rd. in West Kelowna until nearly 8 a.m. on Friday morning.
A westbound, white taxi, believed to have been waiting at the light, was struck by a fast-moving semi hauling a CN trailer.
The collision happened around 2 a.m., and traffic in the area was sparse.
The taxi was pushed 100 metres down the highway before both vehicles came to a stop.
The car’s back end was pushed into the front seats.
The semi’s hood was demolished.
Police say the driver of the white Hyundai Tucson was pronounced dead at the scene, while his lone passenger suffered serious injuries and was rushed to hospital.
The semi driver was seen returning to his cab after speaking with RCMP and did not look to be injured.
“One of our priorities at this time is establishing an identity for the deceased, and properly notifying his next of kin,” RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said in a press release.
Another semi driver who was carrying a first-aid kit away from the crash said he witnessed the collision, but was told by police he couldn’t comment to media.
The B.C. Coroners Service and the RCMP Central Okanagan Traffic Services are investigating.
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