Impaired driving suspected in serious crash

Two men were rushed to hospital after what police are calling “a serious head-on motor vehicle collision,” Thursday morning.

Two men were rushed to hospital after what police are calling “a serious head-on motor vehicle collision,” Thursday morning.

A Port Alberni man is under investigation for impaired driving causing bodily harm after driving his work van the wrong way on the Trans Canada Highway just north of Duncan.

A North Cowichan/Duncan Mountie came upon the scene about 8:20 a.m., just moments after the impact occurred.

“He attended the scene to find both vehicles smoking and having sustained extensive damage from what appeared to be a high speed head-on collision,” said a press release from North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Krista Hobday.

Police investigation revealed a southbound green Ford Windstar van driven by a 62-year-old Chemainus man has just passed the Green Road turnoff at highway speeds when he was struck by the commercial vehicle coming the other way.

“Preliminary inquiries with witnesses and examination of scene evidence is indicating early on that there was no warning to the driver that he was about to collide with a van going the wrong way, in his lane,” said the release.

Police believe the Port Alberni man entered the Trans Canada Highway at some point south of Green Road and turned left instead of right. “There is no indication that he was aware that he was going the wrong way.”

The Windstar driver was taken to the Cowichan District Hospital but later transferred to Victoria General Hospital for further treatment of serious chest injuries and leg injuries.

The driver of the commercial van was treated for his injuries at Cowichan District Hospital and will now have to answer to police.

“We would like to thank the witnesses who stopped and offered aid at the scene prior to the ambulance arriving,” Hobday said.

She said June 31 marked the end of Impaired Driving Awareness Month. “We are hoping the message is getting out to the motoring public that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can have catastrophic consequences.”