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NEWS RELEASE · 7th January 2013
Terrace RCMP
UPDATE: Highway is now open to single lane traffic.

A 38 yr old man from Terrace is dead as a result of a crash involving three tractor trailer units this morning.

Prince Rupert RCMP attended the scene assisted by the Terrace RCMP and the Terrace and Prince Rupert Fire and Rescue. The accident occurred on Highway 16 approximately 70 kilometers east of Prince Rupert at 10:30 AM.

An east bound and a west bound semi collided. A third semi was unable to stop and crashed into the two.

The driver of the west bound semi was trapped and the Jaws were used to extract him.

Air Ambulance transported the man to Prince Rupert Hospital where he died as a result of the injuries he sustained. The other two drivers were transported to Mills Memorial Hospital by BC Ambulance for treatment of injuries received.

" It was snowing and road conditions were poor, " says Sgt Pam Scott, NCO i/c West Pacific Region Traffic Services.

Highway 16 was closed and will remain so till approximately 8 PM tonight for West Pacific Region Traffic Services to continue with its investigation.
Some truck drivers take care of travelers on the road....
Comment by cynthia on 9th January 2013
Just my 2 cents, but when we have to travel at night on these roads the truck drivers we encountered not only kept an eye out for us, but also cleared a path in some really ugly conditions. They made sure to watch for us at fuel stations and new that we had to be careful in our little car with storm conditions. So, just like any other group, there a few that just don't care but the majority watch for travelers in unsafe conditions and do care.
Comment by Walter Fricke on 9th January 2013
I believe a major factor is the road conditions. Our local highways maintainence contractor won't allow his employees to do the best job possible. It might be time to contract a new contractor. If we all wrote the minister of highways, maybe they could audit the company and find out where all the plow blades we pay for are being used. They sure aren't used on our highways! We have horribly maintained highways around Terrace. Unacceptable.
Comment by James Ippel on 8th January 2013
There are Truckers, and there are Truckers. I agree with Mr. Thorsen that not all truckers should be tarred with same brush.
There is a vast difference between the logging truck driver, and the driver hauling lumber from the interior to Pr. Rupert. The logging truck driver is paid a rate on weight hauled and is on a turn a round time established by the his employer. Should he continually perform his trips faster than the employer has established as safe his compensation is reduced. To the best of information I have been able to gather the lumber truck drivers are paid by the trip, so the faster they complete the trip the more money they earn. I have also encountered many of the lumber trucks travelling at excessive speeds in terrible conditions.
In the case of the accident on the Rupert hiway, the B Trailer swerved into the eastbound lane. Granted, conditions were poor, but was the driver driving to conditions? Anyone who has driven this hiway knows that conditions can change mile to mile in the winter time.
Lets reflect back to a fatal accident a year or so ago east of Kitsegukla. An eastbound empty oar truck crossed the bridge, and "apparently" sped up to gain speed on the long upcoming hill. His "B" trailer broke free, crossed over into the westbound lane, killing the driver westbound on the hiway. Again, conditions were poor, but also, to very reliable information the eastbound driver was paid by the trip.
I am not in anyway saying that trip drivers are not as good a driver as those who are paid by the hour or as are logging truck drivers. Unfortunately, these drivers are not paid if they are held up in road closures (Tempory or longer) and maybe the employers should be forced to immediately put these drivers on an hourly rate if they are held up for reasons beyond their control.
My son was almost the victim in this accident. He was about three trucks back, and held the hand of the deceased, giving encouragement till the parmedics took over. It is something that will imprinted in his mind for the rest of his life.
Comment by Sheila on 8th January 2013
I would have to agree with R. Thorsen, I have been dealing with vehicles and trucks that go fast on one of our northern Hwys (113) and honestly NOTHING is done. I have gone everywhere. BUT, when children are walking on the side of the road I have noticed that your truck Mr. Thorton was about one of the ONLY trucks that took caution and actually slowed down so you wouldnt splash the kids with water or just drive slower by the people walking. When I was walking around town, mind you it doesnt help that the city doesnt clean their drains and that the pedestrians have to jump over puddles to cross crosswalks, but we still have cars going by NOT THINKING of their pedestrians that are walking!!! So its not just the trucks, its actually anyone that drives should use caution of others and their surroundings. So sad to have a tragedy come from this, but something should be done.
Sad day for sure!
Comment by Jason on 8th January 2013
First off, I will say this report of the accident is poorly written, but for those trucker bashers out there, it's not always the truckers fault. Also, not all drivers are alike!
The location of this accident, is usually a treacherous part of that hiway. Snowy roads before, and wet roads after, which makes for a bad combination. What remains though, is the level of road maintenance, which in the last several years has become disasterous! I spent five years in road maintenance in the Cassiar area in the 90's. Back then the Government supplied alot of the materials required, now they pay the contractors to do a bare minimum job, to try and make a maximum profit. Unfortunately we blame the people in the plow trucks, but what you dont hear is the foreman telling the driver to do this or not do that! I now have driven all of the Northwest hiways for the past 13 years, covering almost every aspect of commercial driving.
Yes some drivers are quick, but not all of them! Don't make assumptions if you dont have the facts! My condolences go out to the family!! Such a sad, sad day for them and the Trucking industry as well!
Comment by MT on 8th January 2013
I agree with Eric.

Considering the mild winter we've had in the North, the roads have been unacceptable.

I think the highways contractor needs to start treating their employees better and then maybe they could hang on to people who can do the job and do it well!!
Highway 16 Collision - Jan 7, 2013
Comment by Me & U on 8th January 2013
The road conditions were pretty bad. The truck drivers have to drive in good or bad conditions. Oh I feel for all the families involved that lost the two loved one's. Prayer are for move on.
Truck driver
Comment by R. Thorsen on 8th January 2013
It's a sad thing when you see nothing but bad commentaries towards truckers after bad accidents. I am a driver of 20 years hauling logs on Northern highways and I have always encountered that truckers are and always will be the safest on the road. I have many inncedents with small vehicles over the years and some of you people really need to wake up on the roads. People need to realize that road maintenance in my opinion is very bad these days and you seldom ever see sand. It seems to be getting worse every year from my stand point. I know that the roads were extremely slippery at the time of the accident and I personally know two of the guys involved and they were very good drivers. People need to lay off the truckers and concentrate on their own driving.
Lumber trucks
Comment by Eric on 8th January 2013
I've been complaining for quite some time now that these lumber trucks (and other trucks) are driving way too fast and dangerously on our two lane "highways". I drive Terrace - Stewart return Monday to Friday. Every morning around 7:45am in the series of corners just east of Cedarvale, i encounter 3 of these lumber trucks westbound one right after the other. Regardless of road conditions, they are going way too fast, and attempt to straighten out the corners by drifting into the eastbound lane with absolutely no regard for oncoming traffic. So far this winter i have flung myself into the snowbank numerous times to avoid a collision with these idiots.

And another thing...why is there almost no dirt being put on the highways this year?? Almost every day i encounter sections of highway you could play hockey on...with skates...and ot a speck of dirt anywhere.
Drive BC
Comment by Lynn on 7th January 2013
How sad for the family!
A reminder to all; the winter has been quite mild to date. However, on days such as today Drive BC said there was limited visibility due to heavy snowfall.
Go to Drive BC and drive to the conditions of the road and weather.
Very sad but unfortunately not unexpected.
Comment by C. Arnold on 7th January 2013
This is a very sad and tragic story. I drive to Smithers every week and often drive to Rupert and I must say I have never seen such horrible and dangerous driving as I have seen this winter with the big truck drivers! It is absolutely crazy and deadly. Almost every week I have a close call where a big truck is going way too fast in bad road conditions or they just drift right over the center line into the oncoming lane, or they pass and practically run you off the road with their trailer. It is terrifying and I hope all those truckers out there pay attention and start driving with some care and not just to get to their destination as fast as possible. Very sad that such as young person had to die.
Comment by Linda on 7th January 2013
Other reports are saying the man is from Prince Rupert/Port Simpson

either way such a sad situation, deepest condolences to the family and friends of all involved