Man in medical distress pulled from crashed, smoking vehicle: Kelowna RCMP

Police say they received numerous complaints of a suspected impaired driver, but that the man was suffering from a medical emergency. File / Global News

A report of a suspected impaired driver led police to pulling a man from a damaged and smoking vehicle on Wednesday afternoon.

The man, however, later died in hospital.

Kelowna RCMP say numerous complaints came in just after 4 p.m., of a driver who had crashed into a median and a ditch, and was driving on the wrong side of Tower Ranch Boulevard.

“As a result of the collision, the vehicle was reportedly on fire, yet continued to drive,” Kelowna RCMP said in a press release.

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Police say officers located the vehicle near a golf course, where it had come to a stop after crashing through a fence gate.

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“Officers attempted to extract the driver from the smoking vehicle and place him under arrest,” said Kelowna RCMP. “The man allegedly resisted but was eventually taken into custody.”

During the incident, police say it became clear the driver was suffering from a medical emergency and B.C. Emergency Health Services was called.

First aid was provided, with the man being transported to hospital.

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Kelowna RCMP said given the nature of the incident, the Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia (IIO) was notified.

In its findings, the IIO said “unfortunately, the male succumbed to a very serious medical condition unrelated to the crash of his motor vehicle and passed away overnight.”

Often called B.C.’s police watchdog, the IIO is a civilian-led oversight agency that investigates incidents of serious harm or death that may have been the result of police actions.

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Police said “IIO BC has since determined that they will not be asserting in this matter,” adding it’s believed at this time that the medical issue was the cause of the erratic driving.

The IIO said its chief civilian director “has reviewed the medical information and concluded that the driver’s medical condition was the likely cause of the collision and behaviour, and police actions or inactions did not play a role in his death.

“The man sustained some other minor injuries which could have been caused either by the collision or when removed from the vehicle by police, but none meet the threshold of serious harm as defined by the Police Act. The IIO investigation is therefore concluded.”

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