A driver who caused a four-car collision when they failed to stop at a red light on Highway 19 in Nanoose Bay Tuesday, March 27 has been fined, with an RCMP investigation stopping short of criminal charges.
The crash resulted in no injuries, though the driver of the vehicle that caused the collision was taken to hospital by ambulance “out of an abundance of caution,” said Sgt. Darrin Ramey, unit commander for Central Vancouver Island Traffic Services. He added “There was a reason why (paramedics) thought they should take her to the hospital for precautionary reasons.”
Both Ramey and Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department fire chief Doug Penny noted the number of collisions that have taken place on the stretch of highway through Nanoose Bay recently, with Penny saying NVFD has responded to seven collisions since March 16, the Friday before Spring Break.
Penny said, as he recalls, with the exception of one incident, the road conditions were good, and that he hopes this frequency of collisions is not the “new norm.”
Tuesday’s latest crash, which occurred in the southbound lanes of Highway 19 at Northwest Bay Road at about 4:45 p.m., caused major traffic backups in both directions for about an hour and a half, with one lane open each way.
Ramey said RCMP determined that, “A vehicle had failed to stop, or failed to slow down for the red light and had rear-ended a vehicle that was stopped for the red light, and then sort of ricocheted off that one, hit a second vehicle, which drove it into a third vehicle, so there was really four involved.”
The driver of the vehicle that failed to stop has been issued a violation ticket for Drive Without Due Care, Ramey said, for $368. “Short of any kind of criminal charges, it’s one of the bigger motor vehicle act violation tickets you can give,” he said.
Though police had a solid idea about why the driver had failed to stop or slow down at the red light, investigators were unable to fulfill requirements to secure a blood sample, said Ramey.
Penny said that he is concerned about the intersection at Highway 19 and Northwest Bay Road, saying, “(The problem) is speed — speed and people not paying attention.”
Ramey said that in a period of about a week and a half, there have been four collisions in the Nanoose Bay area: one fatal crash, one roll-over involving poor tires, and another vehicle that burst into flame after a collision.
He said that, though the highway in the area is divided, intersections and roads leading onto the highway in the area tend to be where many crashes occur.
“We do a lot of enforcement in that area, specifically for that reason — intelligence-led enforcement. You look at the stats and go, ‘There’s lots of collisions here so we should be doing a lot of enforcement there,’ and we do. It’s one of our priority areas, but when you have a lot of people funnelling through a narrow area, you’re going to get a high volume of collisions.”
Asked whether Spring Break tends to see more collisions, Ramey said any time there is an increase in the number of drivers, you can expect more collisions.
As a reminder to motorists, Ramey said, “Driving is one of the most dangerous things that you do on a daily basis, and you have to take it very seriously.”
A fire department member on Facebook, in a post that was re-posted by NVFD, asked that those in passing vehicles do not take video or photos of collisions, whether minor or major, out of respect for those involved.