August 15, 2013 12:48 pm
Updated: August 15, 2013 3:20 pm

UPDATE: Driver dies after serious crash near Smoky Lake

Serious crash on Highway 28 near Smoky Lake, on Friday, August 9, 2013

Vinesh Pratap, Global News

EDMONTON – The driver of a pickup truck and fifth wheel involved in a serious crash on Highway 28 near Smoky Lake on August 9 has died from his injuries.

Around 11 a.m. on August 9, RCMP, several ambulances, Smoky Lake fire fighters, and two STARS air ambulances were called to the scene.

RCMP say a motor home pulling a smaller vehicle and a pick-up truck pulling a fifth wheel trailer were involved in the crash.

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Five people – two children and an adult in the motor home, and two adults in the truck – were involved in the collision.

All the victims were taken to hospitals in the area, two with potentially life-threatening injuries.

On Thursday, August 15, RCMP said the driver of the pickup truck has succumbed to his injuries from that collision.

The driver and occupant of the truck were from British Columbia and on vacation in Alberta.  The name of the deceased has not been released, and the investigation is continuing.

The passenger of the pickup truck is still in hospital. The two children who were in the motor home have recovered. There is no update on the condition of the driver of the motor home.

“It was very shocking for me,” recalls Don Farmer, who arrived on scene shortly after the crash.

“My cousin… heard some kids crying in the motor home and he climbed through the window and handed them out to the response people there…The people were hurt very badly,” he adds, clearly shaken up.

Farmer and his cousin also checked on the occupants of the truck and found the older man in the driver’s seat badly injured.

“He was bleeding very badly, and he was just sitting there in shock,” recalls Farmer.

“It was just like him, and his grandkids. His grandkids were in the back. My cousin went in there and they were kind of thrown up against the kitchen cabinets. The seats were broken off. He took them out. The little kids were…I think the little girl maybe sprained her ankle or something like that, and the little guy had a scrape on him, but they were just shook up really badly.”

“They’ve got to put slower speed limits here,” he stresses. “It’s 100 right through here, and there’s too many accidents, they’ve got to drop it down to 70 or 80. They’ve got to, they’ve got to.”

Brian Jones would also like to see the speed limit changed.

“It surprises me that there isn’t a slower speed limit here. It’s 100 km an hour here and I know Wasetna – the next town – it slows down to 80.”

Jones was pulling out of the Esso station when he heard the crash.

“I saw the front of the motor home coming off, hitting that truck, and then the trailer spinning around behind the motor home. I knew it was a really bad accident. I immediately pulled my phone out and called 911.”

“I was trying to call 911 and was on hold, so I thought I’ll drive straight to the fire hall and see if someone’s there, it might be faster than sitting on hold on 911,” he recalls.

Jones says the fire department was already responding to the crash when he got there.

Fire Chief Hank Holowaychuk, who also serves as Smoky Lake’s mayor, says Friday’s collision was a bad one.

“It’s a very serious incident due to the nature and the number of vehicles and patients.”

Several victims had to be extricated from the vehicles, he says.

Holowaychuk admits the portion of the Highway is very busy, but says politicians on all levels of government are aware of the issue.

“Our politicians are well aware of the highway traffic volumes, and we’re working with them to address some… looking at the future demands on our highways and make sure we’re ahead of the curve.”

Smoky Lake RCMP closed a portion of Highway 28 for several hours on Friday, August 9. Motorists were being rerouted through the Town of Smoky Lake.

Smoky Lake is about 120 kilometres north-east of Edmonton.

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