Nightmare drive in snow

Colton Davies

One longtime South Okanagan resident said Friday evening’s conditions on the road were among the worst she’s ever seen.

Princeton resident Nicki McIvor, who was driving home from Kelowna with her husband on Friday afternoon, said conditions turned from rain to a whiteout in a span of only a few kilometres, beginning near Twin Lakes on Highway 3A.

“I think we went 40 (kilometres per hour) all the way. I’ve been here 55 years and I think I’ve seen it once that bad. And I travel all the time to Penticton,” she said.

“What was scarier than anything was people just weren’t slowing down for the road conditions, I couldn’t believe it.”

Snowfall rapidly accumulated on higher roads in much of the Southern Interior on Friday, and it resulted in sections of the Coquihalla Highway and Hope-Princeton Highway being closed for much of the night.

Near Hedley along Highway 3, McIvor drove past a semi-truck that had slipped off the road and taken out a power pole at around 4:30 p.m.

Power was out for 234 customers for just under eight hours, according to FortisBC’s online outage map.

McIvor said the semi truck had passed her earlier, and she suspected she witnessed the wreckage about 15 minutes after it occurred.

“I called 911 and they said ‘the cops are on the way.’ And when they showed up, my husband stayed behind even after other people had left to warn them about live power wires,” McIvor recalled, adding her husband works for Argo Road Maintenance.

“They knew the (truck driver) was alright because he was shouting ‘I’m okay, I’m okay,’ but nobody could get near him because it wasn’t safe.”

McIvor and her husband left the scene upon police's request, and she said they passed Fortis and ambulance crews heading to the scene about 20 minutes later.

It's not clear if the truck driver sustained any injuries.

McIvor explained details of a handful of other close calls that happened close to them, which were the results of motorists who weren’t driving to the conditions.

“We saw so much… I can’t believe how crazy people are in those conditions.”

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