Sgt. Trevor Busch, North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

UPDATE with VIDEO: Daughter calls for animal safety measures after fatal accident on Cowichan’s Hwy. 18

“Safety studies and improvements to Highway 18 are vitally important”

Editor’s note: This story was updated with the names of the woman who was killed in the crash and her daughter’s name, after Meaghan Briault gave us permission to do so following the notification of all of the victim’s family.

Nov. 20 is National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims and the daughter of a driver who lost her life to a crash on Highway 18 on Tuesday, Nov. 19 is urging people to sign a petition advocating for increased safety on the well-travelled, road.

“I was taught in elementary school that petitions were a way for citizens to tell politicians what they want,” said Meaghan Briault, daughter of Maureen Cowles-Curtis, who was killed in Tuesday’s crash. “Safety studies and improvements to Highway 18, particularly the area known as Hill 60 are vitally important to our community,” she added.

The crash occurred about 8 p.m. Tuesday night. Two vehicles were involved, each travelling in opposite directions when one vehicle attempted to avoid a collision with an elk. The vehicle struck the elk and then the oncoming vehicle.

Cowles-Curtis from Lake Cowichan was declared dead at the scene, and one man and one woman were airlifted to hospital in life-threatening condition.

“This is a very tragic situation,” said North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Sgt. Trevor Busch. “Collisions with animals are not uncommon, I would like to remind motorists to drive defensively, slow down and leave plenty of distance from the next vehicle to allow the best chance to see wildlife.”

The online petition at change.org calls for wildlife fencing along the highway to prevent the ongoing encounters with large wildlife, namely elk.

“Save human and animal lives,” wrote Bonnie Jones, the petition’s organizer. Jones isn’t a member of the family who suffered a loss on Tuesday night but she grieves with them.

“Encounters with large wildlife are a daily occurrence on this treacherous stretch of highway,” Jones said. “This has gone on for too long. How many more fatalities does there need to be? We ask you to fix this immediately before more loved ones are lost.”

Following the fatal accident, investigators closed the road well into the night and Wednesday’s early morning hours. Within hours of it being re-opened to traffic, another collision with an elk occurred at nearly the same spot. Unlike the night before, the driver of the car was able to walk away with minor injuries.

“This incident is a reminder that collisions with wildlife can happen at any time,” said Cpl. Dave Motley from the Lake Cowichan RCMP detachment. “I would urge motorists to drive according to conditions and be extra vigilant in foggy or dark conditions at dawn or dusk when wildlife is most active.”

The death of her mom on Tuesday night and the subsequent crash Wednesday morning have furthered a heartbroken Briault’s resolve to see change along the highway.

“My mother was a good woman with a very safe driving history. She didn’t drink and she never used her cell phone while driving. The accident that took her life was just that — an accident,” Briault said. “And we have the ability to minimize any accidents like hers. And if we have the ability, don’t we have the responsibility?”

Briault said her mom, who was in her early 60s, had a deep love for nature and for animals and, “I know that she would support wildlife overpasses”.

She’s calling on decision makers to get to work and hopes the public will join her.

“I hope that whoever makes these decisions, if it’s Sonia Furstenau [Cowichan Valley MLA], or the provincial government or ICBC, that they realize the value and importance of taking measures to keep something like this from happening again,” said Briault. “I urge everyone to sign the petition and reach out to municipal and provincial governments leaders.”

To sign the online petition visit change.org and search for “Hwy 18 needs wildlife fencing ASAP”.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

‘Nutcracker’ a hit with Cowichan audiences

A big crowd was entranced Saturday, Dec. 7 when the Royal City… Continue reading

Andrea Rondeau column: Remembering the windstorm of 2018; how prepared are you for an emergency?

Last year on Dec. 20 the Cowichan Valley was walloped by the worst windstorm in memory in the region.

Sarah Simpson Column: The good deed that blew up in my face

Why I’ll be ordering take-our delivery pizza from now on

Chloe Storie-Soth’s rugby dilemma

Shawnigan student has to choose between elite teams

Cowichan United ends scoring drought

Collins and Pugh each score two in 4-0 win

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Most Read