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Fatal Coquihalla crash sparks fire, closes B.C. highway for hours

Click to play video: 'Fatal crash on Coquihalla Highway'
Fatal crash on Coquihalla Highway
A Winnipeg man was killed on Monday, say police, when a commercial transport truck rear-ended another semi on the Coquihalla highway. The collision happened around 6 a.m., south of Merritt. A fire broke out and consumed the second truck. The driver of the semi that was rear-ended was not injured. A co-driver in the second semi, also from Winnipeg, escaped but suffered serious, life-threatening injuries. Traffic in both lanes was stopped for two hours because of the fire. – Aug 30, 2022

B.C. RCMP are offering a clearer picture of the events surrounding a fatal Monday crash that happened south of Merritt, on the Coquihalla Highway.

Just after 6 a.m. Monday, in the southbound lanes of Highway 5 near Comstock, a slow-moving commercial transport truck was rear-ended by a second commercial transport truck that subsequently caught fire along with the grass median between the northbound and southbound lanes.

Police said in a press release that the driver of the slower-moving transport truck, a man from Edmonton, was uninjured in the crash.

“The driver of the second transport truck, a man from Winnipeg, was trapped and died as a result of the collision,” RCMP said.

Read more: Fatal semi truck crash on Highway 1 near Yoho National Park prompts outpouring of sympathy

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“The co-driver in the second transport truck, also a man from Winnipeg, extricated himself from the cab but not before sustaining serious, life-threatening injuries.”

Highway 5 was closed in both directions for around two hours due to the intensity of the fire, which completely consumed the second transport truck. Access to the scene for investigation was hampered due to the fire re-igniting.

Click to play video: 'Fatal semi truck crash on Highway 1 near Yoho National Park prompts outpouring of sympathy'
Fatal semi truck crash on Highway 1 near Yoho National Park prompts outpouring of sympathy

The fire didn’t spread beyond its boundaries and the northbound lanes were later opened while the southbound lanes remained closed most of the day as police investigated and crews removed debris from the crash.

Police would like to speak with the person who stopped at the scene, and identified themselves as a witness, but did not provide their name or contact information.

READ MORE: Two dead in fatal crash near Yoho National Park

BC Highway Patrol has assumed conduct of the investigation with assistance from Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement officers, the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service and the BC Coroners’ Service. The cause of the crash remains under investigation and nothing has been ruled out.

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Anyone with information regarding this collision, including any dashboard camera video, is asked to contact BC Highway Patrol Merritt at 250-378-4262 and cite file 2022-4023.

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