Fire ruled out in death

A provincial coroner has ruled an Enderby woman died as a direct result of a collision with a semi truck last summer, and not from the resulting fire.

Margaret Armstrong, 49, was travelling north on Highway 97A, near Enderby, in a 2011 Chevrolet Astro van at 4 p.m. on July 17, 2013. She was part-way into a double yellow line curve when the van entered the oncoming lane and struck a 2013 Freightliner tractor trailer.

The van deflected into a field on the east side of the highway and burst into flames.

Armstrong’s two-year-old grandson was rescued from the burning vehicle but according to coroner Andrew Cave’s report, Armstrong was found dead in the vehicle after the fire had been extinguished.

“Witnesses to the incident had attended the vehicle before the fire had spread and rescued another occupant,” wrote Cave. “It was noted immediately after the collision that Mrs. Armstrong was unresponsive in the burning vehicle.”

Toxicology tests performed indicate that at the time of the fire, Armstrong had already died.

Cave said no reason for the Astro van to cross the centre line could be determined.

“There is no evidence that speed contributed to the incident,” said Cave.

“The weather was cloudy and overcast with a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. It was determined that sun position and/or glare would not have contributed to the incident.”

Examination of the van was not possible due to its total destruction in the fire.

The Freightliner was checked and revealed no contributory factors to the incident.

Armstrong’s death has been classified as accidental.



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