2 pedestrian crashes weeks apart in Surrey intersection prompt calls for safety overhaul

Click to play video: 'Family speaks out about two serious accidents in same Cloverdale intersection'
Family speaks out about two serious accidents in same Cloverdale intersection
WATCH: A concerned family is speaking out after two serious accidents at the same intersection in Cloverdale. Jordan Armstrong reports – Oct 30, 2019

A busy Surrey intersection has been the scene of two serious crashes involving mobility scooter users within weeks, prompting calls for the province to step in.

Fred Gunther was struck in the crosswalk of Highway 10 at 177B Street in Cloverdale on Saturday by a pickup truck turning left. The scooter he was driving ended up underneath the front bumper.

As of Wednesday, the 93-year-old remains in hospital with serious injuries. When he was taken to hospital Saturday afternoon, police described his injuries as life-threatening.

“He has a broken pelvis, eight cracked ribs [and] damage to his vertebrae. They’ve put some screws or pins in his back,” Gunther’s son-in-law Richard Charbonneau said.
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Charbonneau said the intersection is a “zoo” where pedestrians crossing the highway, also known as 56 Avenue, routinely face close calls with turning vehicles.

Making matters worse, the only grocery store moved to the other side of that road.

“Everyone that wants to go shopping is forced to cross that highway,” Charbonneau said.

Click to play video: 'Warnings about dangerous Surrey intersection after scooter crash'
Warnings about dangerous Surrey intersection after scooter crash

He suggested the solution is simple: an advanced left-turn signal for turning onto the highway.

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“That’s one of the major, major things that need to be changed,” Charbonneau said.

“[The pickup driver] obviously didn’t see [Gunther]… It shouldn’t have happened.”
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But Charbonneau is not the only family member calling for change.

Five weeks before Gunther’s incident, Norman Keyes was struck in the same intersection also while driving a mobility scooter. He remains in hospital with a serious head injury.

His wife Beverley Keyes said Norman, who had the right of way and was hit under the same circumstances as Gunther, could have been saved by an advanced left-turn signal.

“People do need to be more careful making left turns, but the whole setup is not good,” she told Global News on Sunday. “It should be followed up.”

Because the issue deals with a B.C. highway, any safety improvements would be handled by the Ministry of Transportation rather than the City of Surrey.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said Wednesday her staff was working with the city, which oversees 177B Street, to identify possible solutions.

“Obviously, the ministry is looking at the intersection to see if there [are] any safety improvements that could be done,” she said.
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The ministry said in a statement that its traffic engineers “will consider all available options” to determine next steps, and is also consulting with RCMP as they investigate what caused the latest collision.

Charbonneau said he’s hopeful that his and other people’s concerns will be addressed quickly.

“For everyone’s sake, I hope that happens soon before there are any more injuries,” he said.

—With files from Jordan Armstrong

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