Skip to content

Car crossed centre line in fatal Monte Lake crash

Several crashes in same week on the stretch of highway between Vernon and Kamloops

A vehicle crossing the centre line caused a crash that claimed the lives of four people Jan. 16.

Two vehicles were involved in the head-on collision on Highway 97 near Monte Lake shortly before 9 a.m.

Four people, including the drivers of both vehicles, were declared deceased at the scene. A fifth person was transported from the scene by B.C. Emergency Health Services in critical condition.

“This is a terrible tragedy and our most heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of the deceased,” said Const. Chris Terleski, media relations officer for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. “Our thoughts are also with the first responders and members of the public impacted by this event.”

Terleski said findings from the preliminary investigation indicate the northbound vehicle, with four occupants, crossed the centre line of the highway colliding head-on with the southbound vehicle.

“At this time, there is no indication as to why the vehicle crossed into oncoming traffic.”

READ MORE: 4 people killed in Highway 97 crash near Monte Lake

Although the most tragic, the crash was one of several that took place on the stretch of highway between Kamloops and Vernon that week.

The following day, Jan. 17, BC Highway Patrol officers were called to a two-vehicle crash south of Falkland around 12:30 p.m.

“A southbound U-Haul cube van crossed the centre line of the highway and collided head-on with a northbound Ford F-350,” said Terleski, adding minor injuries were reported. “Poor road conditions and limited visibility are believed to be contributing factors in the collision.”

READ MORE: Crash cleared on Highway 97 in Falkland

Another incident reportedly backed up traffic later that night.

And on Jan. 22 a semi jackknifed across the highway near Monte Lake, blocking traffic around 8 a.m.

Area D (Falkland) director Dean Trumbley says the highway is hazardous at the best of times.

“People drive way too fast but also it is a very dangerous stretch of highway without adverse conditions. So add snow or rain and it usually results in multiple car accidents and fatalities every year.”

READ MORE: Highway 97 open following another crash between Kamloops and Vernon

Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
Read more