Coquihalla crash near Merritt leaves one dead

A crash along the Coquihalla Highway south of Merritt Monday has left one person dead and another seriously hurt.

The incident shut down the southbound lanes of Highway 5, with impact to northbound traffic too.

A map shows a section of the Coquihalla is closed due to a vehicle incident south of Merritt
A crash and resulting fire shut down the southbound lanes of the Coquihalla, south of Merritt, the morning of Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. (Courtesy DriveBC)

According to the RCMP, a slow-moving commercial truck was rear-ended by another transport vehicle around 6 a.m. The collision caused a fire.

The driver of the slow-moving truck, who’s only been identified as an Edmonton man, was not hurt. However, the driver of the second truck, a Winnipeg man, was trapped in the vehicle and died.

“The co-driver in the second transport truck, also a man from Winnipeg, extricated himself from the cab but not before sustaining serious, life-threatening injuries,” a release issued Tuesday reads.

The fire, which engulfed the second truck, that resulted from the crash forced the closure of the Coquihalla for several hours, with impacts mainly to the southbound lanes but also to northbound traffic.

“Access to the scene for investigation was hampered due to the fire re-igniting,” the RCMP added.

Related article: Coquihalla reopens after crash closes highway SB near Merritt

It’s still unclear what caused the crash. All factors are being considered.

Mounties are hoping to speak with anyone who may have dashcam footage from the area. Investigators are also looking for anyone “who stopped at the scene, identified themselves as a witness, but did not provide their name or contact information.”

You can contact BC Highway Patrol Merritt at 250.378.4262 and cite file 2022-4023 with any information.

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