One killed in Hwy. 5 crash

Speed appears to have been the cause of a single vehicle crash on Highway 5 that claimed the life of the driver.

The crash, about 17km south of Merritt, occurred shortly after 10 a.m. Monday.

According to Merritt RCMP, witnesses say a silver 2004 Mazda 3 passed them at a high rate of speed, lost control and entered the centre median.

The vehicle struck hard and began to tumble end over end with enough force to eject the engine block from the car.

Air ambulance was contacted, however, due to the severity of the injuries and despite their best efforts, the driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

The coroner's office is investigating.

The highway was completely shut down for a short period of time.

This was the second serious collision on highways west of the Okanagan in less than 24 hours.

About 3 p.m. Sunday a section of Hwy 97C was closed for about 90 minutes due to a single vehicle crash west of Sunset Main.

The four occupants of the vehicle, all from Chilliwack, suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Two people from that crash were air lifted to Kelowna General Hospital while two others were taken to KGH by ground ambulance.

Merritt RCMP say the vehicle appeared to have had a mechanical failure causing the driver to lose control and travel off road down a steep embankment.

RCMP Cst Tracy Dunsmore says while it is summer and road conditions are normally good, motorists are reminded to be conscientious of their speed and other drivers on the highway.

"Members have also noted that although it is important for travellers to assist police with witness statements and offer medical assistance when passing accidents there have been lots of vehicles who have stopped to take photographs and observe the accident," says Dunsmore.

"This often causes problems at the scene with traffic flow, destruction of evidence and taking up member's time trying to ensure the safety of the public when on the side of the road."

Dunsmore says people should drive past the scene if they are not a witness or able to offer medical assistance.



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