One man was killed and a second seriously injured in a head-on collision Monday in east Maple Ridge.
The crash was the second fatal accident on Lougheed Highway in the span of 30 hours.
Police believe the SUV, towing a “Wide Load” sign, crossed over the centre line from westbound lanes and slammed head-on into a pickup truck travelling east.
The driver of the pickup, a 53-year-old Maple Ridge man, was seriously injured and airlifted via helicopter to Royal Columbia Hospital in New Westminster.
A 57-year-old man from Maple Ridge who was driving the SUV for Bob’s Pilot Service died on scene. His name is being withheld at this time. Neither vehicle had passengers.
“Police are still trying to determine the cause as road and weather conditions were very good at the time of the crash,” said Sgt. Dale Somerville with Ridge Meadows RCMP.
“Initial indications are the SUV crossed over into the path of the pickup. Neither speed or alcohol appear to be factors.”
Darren Telford was heading to the dump in Maple Ridge from Mission four cars behind the SUV when he saw the pickup truck flip twice and slid into a ditch.
As the drivers in front of him slammed on their brakes, the 27-year-old drove across the lanes, stopping right near the upside down pickup.
“I thought it was going to catch fire,” said Telford, who ran to the semi-conscious driver and initially tried to drag him out.
“There was smoke but the truck was too crumpled to do that.”
Telford brushed the glass of the man’s face and put his jacket under his head.
“Keep breathing,” he said.
“Don’t move. Sit still. You are going to get out of this.”
The man’s face had deep cuts, though barely conscious he was struggling to get out of the seat.
“I didn’t want him to choke on his own blood,” said Telford.
“He couldn’t really talk. He was trying to squirm to get out. He didn’t know what he was doing.”
Another driver sprayed the pickup with a fire extinguisher while other witnesses tried to help the man in the SUV who was pinned behind the steering wheel.
“I don’t know why I ran over but if that was me I would want someone to help,” said Telford who is very familiar with the hilly stretch of Lougheed Highway, where motorists often clock speed of over 100 kilometres.
Police thanked Telford for helping the injured driver, who remains seriously injured, but is expected to live.yone who witnessed Monday’s head-on collision is asked to call RCMP at 604-463-6251. To remain anonymous call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or leave a tip online at solvecrime.ca. CrimeStoppers will pay a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
Photo inset: Witnesses comfort each other near the scene of a fatal collision on Lougheed Highway Monday in east Maple Ridge.