Police probing possible drug impairment in fatal Malahat collision

Police are looking into the role that drugs may have played in a fatal single-vehicle collision on the Trans-Canada Highway on Saturday night.

A 46-year-old Esquimalt man who was in the front passenger seat died shortly after the crash, while the driver, a 45-year-old Victoria man, and another passenger, a 60-year-old Esquimalt woman, were taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Shawnigan Lake RCMP, BC Ambulance Service and the Shawnigan Lake Fire Department were called to the scene not far from the 17km marker of Malahat Drive around 8 p.m. on Saturday.

A four-door Pontiac Grand Am was travelling south and struck the rock face next to the highway, causing significant damage to the front passenger side. Crews worked to save the male passenger, but were unable to and he died shortly after being transported from the scene. His name has not been released.

"Shawnigan Lake RCMP and RCMP South Island Traffic Services continue to investigate the cause of this crash, including possible drug impairment on the part of the driver," Sgt. Andre Dentoom said in a media release. "As this is an ongoing criminal investigation, no further details will be released."

The highway was closed for several hours while a collision analyst/reconstructionist examined the site. Traffic was redirected during the closure.

Anyone who may have witnessed the crash or observed a grey 2002 four-door Pontiac Grand Am on the highway prior to 8 p.m. is urged to contact South Island Traffic Services at 250-416-0352.