Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews attend to a damaged Chrysler Pacifica on Island Highway near Northfield Road on Monday afternoon. Crews were forced to shut down the intersection for more than an hour due to the accident. (NICHOLAS PESCOD/NEWS BULLETIN)

UPDATE: Five vehicles collide after driver goes into medical distress

Crash closes Island Highway on Monday afternoon at Northfield Road intersection

A multi-vehicle accident forced emergency services to close a portion of the Island Highway on Monday afternoon.

Nanaimo RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue blocked off the intersection of Northfield Road and Island Highway to motorists heading in both directions at approximately 3:30 p.m. due to a car accident involving five vehicles.

Gary O’Brien, RCMP spokesman, said the accident happened after a man heading southbound on Island Highway went into medical distress, struck a pole and then crossed into the northbound lanes.

“He hit a hydro pole and then he veered into the northbound lane and struck several more cars,” he said.

Northbound traffic along Island Highway was diverted onto Northfield Road while southbound traffic was diverted onto Highland Boulevard. Traffic volumes were heavy around Brooks Landing plaza while crews worked for more than an hour to clear the scene.

O’Brien said the male driver was taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital while two others were also taken to hospital for “precautionary” reasons.

Emergency crews reopened the intersection at 4:50 p.m.

Although the accident was due to a medical issue, the Northfield Road intersection is considered a high-concern location for the City of Nanaimo. City councillors voted to fix the intersection back in May, but construction has yet to begin.