Accident south of Vernon claims three lives

Three people have died as the result of a head-on crash between a Chevrolet pickup and a Volvo station wagon shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday...

Three people have died as the result of a crash between a northbound Chevrolet pickup and a southbound Volvo station wagon shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday south of Vernon on Highway 97.

RCMP are still investigating why the pickup truck crossed the centre line north of the Bailey Road turnoff hitting the station wagon head-on.

“The exact cause has yet to be determined, and our officers are working to piece things together,” said Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk Tuesday morning.

“We’ll be looking at the mechanical condition of the vehicle. We’ll be looking a little more closely at the surviving driver, who remains in hospital. Was there medical factors or other things that may have contributed to this crash?”

Police have said that alcohol does not appear to be a contributing factor.

Two men – a 19-year-old from Armstrong who was a passenger in the truck, and the 70-year-old driver of the Volvo from Salmon Arm – died at the scene.

A third person, the 67-year-old wife of the Salmon Arm man, died in Kelowna General Hospital. She suffered serious head injuries in the crash.

“The families of the victims have asked for more time to notify other family members before names will be released,” said Molendyk.

The driver of the truck, a 21-year-old Spallumcheen man, remains in hospital with head injuries but is expected to recover. Police were hoping to talk to him Tuesday or Wednesday.

A small fire started in the truck after the accident but was extinguished very quickly by one of the police officers at the crash site.

The highway was closed for several hours after the accident.

Police have interviewed three or four witnesses to the crash, but anyone who may have witnessed the accident and has not spoken to the police should contact the Vernon-North Okanagan detachment at 250-545-7171.