Sunday April 20, 2014

Relentless snow causes highway havoc

'Lots of accidents, lots of recoveries, lots of vehicles going in the ditch'
Murray Mitchell

RCMP officers look over a truck that left the Trans-Canada Highway Friday afternoon and landed on the railway tracks in Dallas. The female driver was able to exit the vehicle shortly before it was struck by an eastbound CP train. Police said it appeared that slick roads caused the truck to leave the highway.

After a day of chasing fender-benders on snowbound roads around the city, emergency responders were facing more accidents with freezing drizzle possible overnight.

Sgt. Bernie Ward said Kamloops RCMP were kept busy all day Friday, responding to weather-related crashes, but no serious injuries were involved.

The day was highlighted by a CP Rail train striking an unoccupied pickup that left the Trans-Canada Highway beside Furrer Road in Dallas, ending up on the tracks.

CP spokeswoman Salem Woodrow said an eastbound train struck the GMC pickup about 1 p.m. The crew was not given advance notice of the truck on the tracks.

There were no injuries. The train continued following a safety inspection.

Elsewhere emergency crews responded to a rash of calls.

“It’s been very busy — lots of accidents, lots of recoveries, lots of vehicles going in the ditch,” said Sandi Mattern, a dispatcher with Don’s Towing. “It’s keeping our trucks busy.”

While only two to four centimetres were forecast, considerably more than that accumulated by day’s end. The snow was forecast to taper off this morning with only a 30 per cent chance of flurries.

Compact snow with slippery sections was reported on the Coquihalla and Yellowhead highways on Friday. Any motorists heading out should consult road reports for updated information.

The same storm closed schools and some bus routes in the Lower Mainland. With up to 15 centimetres of snow forecast for inland regions, all schools in Mission were closed on Friday and others scattered across the Fraser Valley and Vancouver.

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