Allegedly drunk and high

Alanna Kelly

UPDATE: 11:45 a.m.

A driver who fled the scene and crashed into a tree after hitting another vehicle was allegedly under the influence of alcohol and multiple drugs.

Paramedics and firefighters rushed to two crash scenes on Highway 97 near Gordon Drive just after 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night.

The driver of a Toyota Corolla drove into the driver's side of a Dodge Caliber and sent it into a 360 spin.

“He was going fast enough that he spun me around, my car was doing circles,” said the driver of the Caliber.

The suspect then tried to flee the scene, but crashed into a tree and heavily damaged his vehicle, sending car parts all over the six lanes of highway.

Firefighters had to extract the man from the vehicle after three men ran over and tried to break the windows to free the man trapped inside.

“RCMP can confirm that preliminary findings of the evaluation conducted by drug recognition experts suggest that the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle was impaired by a combination of alcohol and likely more than one drug,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

“A final determination will not be made until a finalized report is prepared by the DRE and reviews in conjunction with the test results received from the forensic lab."

Investigators circled the crash scene for hours, trying to piece together what happened.

O’Donaghey says investigators could determine if someone is under the influence through “an admission by the driver, it could be odours present at the scene, or remnants of containers at the scene.”

The two people in the Caliber sustained non-life-threatening injures, but told Castanet they were in a lot of pain and their vehicle is a write-off.

Car parts, road signs and tree branches were thrown in all different directions during the impact, and it is lucky no pedestrians or other drivers were injured.

“This stretch of highway is a very busy portion of the highway through Kelowna where the initial crash took place. Very fortunate that the two occupants of the Dodge Caliber sustained non-life-threatening injuries,” said O’Donaghey.

UPDATE: 6:52 a.m.

RCMP have released more information on the horrific crash on Highway 97.

Emergency crews had their hands full, after two consecutive and related motor vehicle collisions forced the closure of Harvey Avenue between Gordon Drive and Chandler Street in Kelowna, Wednesday evening.

RCMP responded to a report of a hit and run collision at the intersection of Gordon Drive and Harvey Avenue. Police were told that a blue Dodge Calibre had been northbound on Gordon when it was struck in the intersection by a southbound silver Toyota Corolla.

“The driver of the Toyota sedan allegedly failed to stop or remain at the scene of the crash and fled eastbound along Harvey Avenue,” states Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey. “A short distance away, the already damaged hit and run suspect vehicle veered into the centre median of the highway and further collided with a tree, before it came to final rest in the centre lane of the eastbound lanes.”

Due to the extent of the damages, the driver and sole occupant of the Toyota Corolla had to be extracted from his motor vehicle by the Kelowna Fire Department.

“During their interaction with the driver at the scene, specially trained investigators of the RCMP detected symptoms of suspected drug impairment. As a result, a demand was made which required the driver to submit to a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluation,” says O’Donaghey.

The driver of the Toyota, a 47-year-old Kelowna man, was later released from police custody. He now faces a number of potential impaired driving related criminal charges.

The driver and passenger of the Dodge Caliber each sustained minor non-life threatening injuries, and were medically assessed at the scene by emergency paramedics of the BC Ambulance Service. The driver was later transported to hospital as a precaution.

Collision investigators of the Kelowna RCMP Municipal Traffic Section are asking additional witnesses to come forward. If you witnessed either crash and have not yet spoken to police you are urged to contact the Kelowna RCMP Municipal Traffic Section at 250-762-3300.

ORIGINAL: 5:00 a.m.

A man was driving through a Kelowna intersection when another driver smashed into his vehicle, sent him spinning and then drove off.

“He smoked me right in my driver's door and sent me in a 360 and just kept going,” said Kristian, who asked Castanet News not to use his last name.

Kristian was travelling along Gordon Drive and on Wednesday night and when he was in the intersection of Highway 97 another driver drove right into his vehicle.

“He was going fast enough that he spun me around, my car was doing circles,” he said.

The driver fled the scene and continued along Highway 97. Kristian said he called 911 right away and witnesses told him the driver hit a tree just a few metres away.

Paramedics and firefighters found a man trapped in a single vehicle just past Gordon Drive and Highway 97. Car parts were strewn all over Highway 97 and a road sign was broken in half.

Firefighters pulled the man out of the vehicle and he was able to stand up, but was then placed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital.

The silver car sat destroyed in the northbound lanes of Harvey Avenue, near Chandler Street on Wednesday, as investigators tried to piece together what happened.

Kristian said his vehicle is completely destroyed because of the incident and he is in a lot of pain.

“I am pretty sore and I hurt my back, my vehicle is written off. It’s done,” he said.

Police would not provide any details about what happened or what caused the collision. It is not clear the extent of injuries the man suffered.

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