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Police seek witnesses after South Okanagan woman killed in Highway 97 collision

Submitted.
Submitted.

South Okanagan Traffic Services (SOTS) is seeking witnesses to Thursday’s fatal crash on Highway 97.

The collision occurred at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 approximately five kilometres north of Summerland.

READ MORE: One person died in Highway 97 crash north of Summerland

Cpl. Mike Halskov said a southbound 2005 blue Honda Civic with two occupants lost control, entered the northbound lanes and collided with an oncoming transport truck.

The collision killed the passenger in the blue Honda Civic. She was a woman in her early 40’s from the South Okanagan area, according to RCMP.

The driver of the Honda is a man in his late 30’s, also from the South Okanagan.  He sustained serious injuries and remains in hospital, but is expected to recover.

The driver of the transport truck is a man in his 50’s from the Shuswap area and he was able to self-extricate himself and was treated for minor injuries, police said.

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Halskov said impairment is not being considered as a contributing factor.

Speed relative to conditions and road/weather conditions are, however, being considered as possible contributing factors.

A lineup of vehicles along Highway 97 north of Summerland.
A lineup of vehicles along Highway 97 north of Summerland. Global News

Police are seeking witnesses to any “pre-collision driving” of the blue Honda Civic as it travelled south on Highway 97 between Peachland and Summerland on Thursday afternoon.

Anyone with information is asked to contact SOTS in Keremeos at 250-499-2250.

The fatal crash prompted the closure of the highway for several hours as police investigated.

Online petition for safety barriers on Highway 97 gains traction
Online petition for safety barriers on Highway 97 gains traction

Concerned citizen Mick Harper launched an online petition requesting the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure install median barriers along the dangerous stretch of highway.

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The Change.org petition has garnered 14,000 signatures in three days.

“When it happened I just shook my head and I can’t believe nothing has been done about it,” Harper told Global News on Sunday.

In response, the ministry said safety of the travelling public is its top priority and their thoughts are with the family and friends of those involved in the collision.

“We have asked our engineering team to undertake an analysis to see if further investigation into [a] median barrier is warranted,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Once the investigation and engineering analysis are complete, the ministry will look at safety improvements, if the location in question meets the necessary requirements.”

Data provided by the ministry shows there were serious collisions and/or fatalities on the stretch of highway between Summerland and Peachland every year from 2014-2018.

Fatal collisions occurred in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Four to six serious injury accidents were also recorded each year, according to the ministry data.