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South Okanagan man killed in chain-reaction Coquihalla crash involving two dozen vehicles

Click to play video: 'Dozens injured, one person dead in multi-vehicle pile-up on the Coquihalla' Dozens injured, one person dead in multi-vehicle pile-up on the Coquihalla
WATCH: One person is dead, and five others have been injured after a multi-vehicle crash on the Coquihalla. – Feb 10, 2021

A South Okanagan man in his 40s was killed in Wednesday morning’s multi-vehicle crash on the Coquihalla Highway, say police.

According to police, he was driving a pickup truck that was the first vehicle to crash during the chain-reaction collision.

The man’s dog also died in the crash.

Click to play video: 'Helicopter captures devastation of 20+ car pile-up on Coquihalla Highway' Helicopter captures devastation of 20+ car pile-up on Coquihalla Highway
Helicopter captures devastation of 20+ car pile-up on Coquihalla Highway – Feb 11, 2021

Read more: Fatal crash closes Coquihalla Highway northbound lanes north of Hope

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RCMP said the pile-up, north of Hope, near the Othello Tunnels, occurred during “treacherous conditions” on the highway.

Police estimate around 50 people and two dozen vehicles were involved in the “cascading, chain-reaction collision,” after being caught off-guard by poor road and weather conditions.

The crash as seen from the air on Wednesday afternoon. Credit: Amber Belzer
The crash as seen from the air on Wednesday afternoon. Credit: Amber Belzer. Credit: Amber Belzer

Among those caught up in the crash was a responding police officer. Tow trucks and a BC ambulance were “also involved in minor crashes,” according to police.

RCMP said the incident started with a semi-truck stopped in the northbound lanes of an s-curve on the highway.

The South Okanagan man’s pickup truck then hit the stopped semi, and a responding police officer taking “evasive action … due to the severe road conditions” hit a concrete barrier, police said.

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Click to play video: 'Fatal crash closes Highway 5 northbound near Hope' Fatal crash closes Highway 5 northbound near Hope
Fatal crash closes Highway 5 northbound near Hope – Feb 10, 2021

“The police car was then hit from behind by a jack-knifed semi-truck that was not able to stop, injuring the police officer who watched through his rear-view mirror as he was about to be hit,” Cpl. Mike Halskov said in a media statement.

Police said Thursday morning that one person remains in hospital with broken bones. That person is expected to recover.

“Severe road and weather conditions contributed significantly to this crash,” Halskov said.

“Speed relative to conditions also played a factor, and police would like to remind motorists to drive according to the road and weather conditions.

“In this collision, slower speeds may not have prevented collisions due to the highway being glare ice, but slower speeds may have reduced injury.”

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Click to play video: 'Highway 97A crash caught on video' Highway 97A crash caught on video
Highway 97A crash caught on video – Feb 2, 2021

The highway was closed for several hours, but reopened Wednesday night.

RCMP do not expect that their ongoing investigation of the crash will result in any charges.

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