Editor’s note: This article previously stated police said a man in his 20s died. CPS later clarified it was a man in his 20s who was taken into custody and that a medical examiner will clarify at a later time the gender and age of the victim.
A Red Deer man has been charged following a fatal head-on collision on Deerfoot Trail in the early hours of Friday morning.
Calgary police confirmed to Global News that a truck was heading north in the southbound lanes of Deerfoot Trail when it collided with a car near the 32nd Avenue N.E. turnoff around 3:15 a.m.
The driver of the car travelling south was confirmed dead at the scene.
CPS Sgt. Colin Foster said investigators were able to identify the victim as a 27-year-old man from Calgary.
Police said the driver of the 2009 Ford F-150 pickup truck, a 29-year-old man, was unharmed and remains in police custody.
Foster said Tyson Tyler Giroux of Red Deer was charged with impaired driving, refusing to provide a breath sample and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle involving death.
He said the collision reconstruction team will be looking at a number of factors, including whether the vehicles were running with lights on and whether the victim could have also been impaired at the time.
“More importantly, how did Giroux get on the wrong side of the roadway and travel so far along Deerfoot before the unfortunate collision occurred? At the moment we have him driving northbound in the southbound lanes from at least Peigan (Trail S.E.),” he said.
Both the northbound and southbound lanes of Deerfoot were shut down for more than four and seven hours, respectively, between 32nd Avenue and 16th Avenue N.E. as police investigated the crash.
Foster’s early, conservative estimate of the combined collision speed of the two vehicles was 140 km/h — 70 km/h each.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s higher,” he said. “I’m only basing that estimate at the moment on what I’ve seen at the scene. There’s lots of other things I need to be going into later on.”
Foster said dangerous driving causing death could lead to a 10-year maximum sentence.
Tracy Franklin, MADD Canada’s regional director for Alberta, became heartbreakingly familiar with the aftermath of a fatal collision involving drunk driving when her daughter died 19 years ago.
With the holiday season upon the city, Franklin knows people will be gathering for festivities, likely involving alcohol or intoxicating substances.
“Nobody’s saying don’t go out and enjoy your friends and your family and your coworkers over Christmas and Christmas parties. But plan ahead,” she said.
She urged the use of a designated driver, taxis, public transit or ride shares following the parties.
With a career of seeing the immediate consequences of drunk driving, Foster said it “is the easiest offence to stop.”
“It’s your decision to have a drink. It’s your decision to drive,” he said
“I’ve been to far too many fatality collisions when it could have been saved or stopped by somebody making that right decision, that right choice, not to drink and drive.”
Police are asking anyone who may have information or dashcam footage related to this crash to contact police at the non-emergency number at 403-266-1234. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the Calgary Crime Stoppers website.