Toddlers, dog unscathed

UPDATE: 1:05 p.m.

The driver of a Toyota Tacoma who was hit head-on by a Jeep on Highway 33 Thursday had his two toddlers in the back seat and his dog leashed in the truck's bed. Miraculously, Sam Hartmann, his wife, two children, and even his dog walked away unscathed.

In the early afternoon, the Hartmann family was driving out of town, when they came around a corner, just past the hairpin turn on Highway 33, and saw the Jeep coming at them in their lane.

“I went around to the left ... and I almost made it and just clipped him, my bumper just hit him like six inches into his car,” Hartmann said. “We spun out, hit the barricade, kept spinning up the road and the truck was filled by airbag smoke so we couldn't see anything.

“Then we got T-boned by another car coming down the hill.”

When his truck finally came to a rest, Hartmann's one-year-old and three-year-old children were fine, as was his wife.

Hartmann's dog had been thrown from the bed of the truck but was hanging by her leash, which was still attached to the bed.

“My wife, after we checked on the kids, just undid her collar and she was fine,” Hartmann said.

“There was tons of people that were helping, one of the ladies held our one-year-old and everyone kind of cheered up.”

Hartmann said the driver of the Jeep was in shock and the woman driving the third vehicle broke her hand, but everyone involved avoided serious injury. 

Police said the 31-year-old driver of the Jeep has been charged under the Motor Vehicle Act. 

UPDATE: Friday 10 a.m.

Police say three vehicles sustained significant damage, and a man and a woman were taken to hospital in Thursday's crash on Highway 33 in Joe Rich. 

The three-vehicle crash happened about 1:45 p.m. near Daves Road.

RCMP say a westbound Jeep Liberty failed to keep right, crossed the centre line and collided nearly head on with an eastbound Toyota pickup.

The driver of an eastbound Chevrolet Equinox was unable to stop in time and collided with the Toyota, which had spun out of control after the initial impact.

Police believe the Jeep driver may have fallen asleep behind the wheel. The 31-year-old Kelowna man has been charged under the Motor Vehicle Act. He was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, as was the driver of the Chevy, a 34-year-old Kelowna woman.

The driver of the Toyota and his three passengers were assessed at the scene and released.

All three vehicles sustained major damage and were towed from the scene.

UPDATE: Thursday 8 p.m.

The crash on Highway 33 has been cleared and the road is now open to traffic. 

There were reportedly no serious injuries in the crash. 

ORIGINAL: 3:20 p.m.

A three-vehicle crash has been reported on Highway 33, east of Kelowna.

The collision happened in Joe Rich about 2 p.m.

Resident Hanna Lambert urged motorists to drive to conditions and offered a reminder now that ski season has begun at Big White and traffic through the rural neighbourhood is increasing. 

"Today being the first day of Big White open, there has already been a multiple-vehicle accident on Highway 33 near Heartland Ranch," she said.

"Please take your time to get where you're going so everyone can make it home safe."

There is no word yet on injuries or their severity in the crash.

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